Alpha-Fetoprotein Associated with Islet Cell Tumors

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Elevated serum levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) (100–1,000 ng/ml) were found in three patients with islet cell tumors. Serial levels correlated with progression of disease, suggesting that AFP could be a useful tumor marker substance for islet cell tumors. Survey sera from an expanded pool of 23 patients with islet cell tumors and nine with carcinoid tumors did not identify additional cases, however, suggesting that elevated AFP levels in these classes of Apudomas are uncommon. Nonetheless, the distinction from other AFP-producing tumors such as hepatocellular carcinoma is clinically important and warrants an awareness of the rare association of AFP with these tumors.

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