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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Constitutive elevation of serum alpha-fetoprotein in Fanconi anemia.

The diagnosis of Fanconi anemia ( FA) is based on the association of congenital malformations, bone marrow failure syndrome, and hypersensitivity to chromosomal breaks induced by cross-linking agents. In the absence of typical features, the diagnosis is not easy to establish because there is no simple and cost-effective test; thus, investigators must rely on specialized analyses of chromosomal breaks. Because we observed elevated serum alpha-fetoprotein (sAFP) levels in FA patients, we investigated this parameter as a possible diagnostic tool. Serum AFP levels from 61 FA patients and 27 controls with acquired aplastic anemia or other inherited bone marrow failure syndromes were analyzed using a fluoroimmunoassay based on the TRACE technology. Serum AFP levels were significantly more elevated (P <.0001) in FA than in non- FA aplastic patients. In the detection of FA patients among patients with bone marrow failure syndromes, this assay had a sensitivity of 93% and a specificity of 100%. This elevation was not explained by liver abnormalities. Levels of sAFP were unchanged during at least 4 years of follow-up, and allogeneic bone marrow transplantation did not modify sAFP levels. Three of 4 FA patients with mosaicism as well as 5 of 6 FA patients with myelodysplastic syndrome were detected by this test. Heterozygous parents of FA patients had normal sAFP levels. Measurement of sAFP levels with this automated, cost-effective, and reproducible fluoroimmunoassay could be proposed for the preliminary diagnosis of FA whenever this disorder is suspected.[1]


  1. Constitutive elevation of serum alpha-fetoprotein in Fanconi anemia. Cassinat, B., Guardiola, P., Chevret, S., Schlageter, M.H., Toubert, M.E., Rain, J.D., Gluckman, E. Blood (2000) [Pubmed]
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