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The Scan Clinic London East,
635A Cranbrook Road,
Gants Hill IG2 6SX
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0203 904 7706
Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm
Biomarkers Included with the Testicular Cancer Blood Test blood test
Scroll down for more information about each biomarker
Alpha Fetoprotein (AFP)
Beta HCG Tumour Marker
About the Testicular Cancer Blood Test blood test
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Biomarker information for Testicular Cancer Blood Test blood test
Alpha fetoprotein (AFP) is a marker used to detect and diagnose certain cancers and liver diseases. AFP blood testing may also be performed during pregnancy to determine a baby’s risk for a congenital disability or genetic disorder.
AFP is an albumin-like glycoprotein which performs similar functions to albumin in foetal circulation. It is initially produced by the yolk sac, but by 13 weeks of gestation the foetal liver is the main source. After birth, levels in the infant decline rapidly during the first year and reach a low basal range by the end of the second year. These low levels of between 0 and 10 IU/mL are maintained throughout normal adult life.
Elevation of serum AFP may also occur in many patients suffering from primary hepatocellular carcinoma, non-seminomatous testicular cancer and endodermal tumours of the ovary. Elevated levels have also been found in non-malignant diseases such as liver cirrhosis and viral hepatitis.
The most important application of AFP testing in cancer management is for testicular cancer. Although not present in pure seminoma, elevated serum AFP is closely associated with non-seminomatous testicular cancer. The measurement of AFP in serum, in conjunction with serum hCG is an established regimen for monitoring patients with non-seminomatous testicular cancer. The growth rate of progressive cancer can be monitored by serially measuring serum AFP concentration over time.
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a glycoprotein hormone, made up of an alpha and beta subunit, that is produced by the placenta and normally is only measurable during pregnancy. Some abnormal tissues and cancers, however, may also produce hCG, making the hCG test useful as a tumour marker in certain people, for example if a suspicious lesion is diagnosed on a scan. The markers is used to help diagnose or monitor gestational trophoblastic disease or germ cell testicular tumours.
HCG can be secreted by abnormal germ cell, placental or embryonal tissues especially seminomatous and non-seminomatous testicular tumours (NSGCT), ovarian germ cell tumours, gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD – hydatiform mole and choriocarcinoma) and benign or malignant non-testicular teratomas.
HCG is most appropriately used in monitoring disease progression or effectiveness of treatment once diagnosis of the tumour has been made and serum concentrations have been shown to be high prior to treatment.
As with most tumour markers there is a high incidence of false positive and false negative results.
What does the Testicular Cancer Blood Test blood test involve?
This blood test is just like a standard blood test.
You will be asked to uncover you left or right arm and suitable vein is found. A tourniquet will be placed and tightened around your upper arm allowing the veins to swell and a needle will be placed into your vein. A small quantity of blood is then drawn into tubes. Once the procedure is complete a small plaster will be placed onto the site which can be removed after a few hours.
How do I prepare
- The blood test requires access to the area of interest, therefore, it is recommended to wear loose clothing to facilitate this process.
- No specific preparation is required for this scan.
- We will require details of your GP / Health Care Professional, which may be requested before or at the time of the scan.
- Blood results require interpretation. All results should be interpreted by your regular health care professional / GP.