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

Reversible increase in serum alpha-fetoprotein content associated with hepatic dysfunction during chemotherapy for seminoma.

Serial monitoring of the serum content of the beta subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin (beta hCG) and alpha-fetoprotein (alpha FP) is useful in the initial staging of germ cell tumors and assessing the response to treatment. An increase in either marker during or following treatment almost always heralds disease progression and indicates the need for additional therapy. We report two patients in whom substantial increases in the serum content of AFP occurred during chemotherapy for advanced seminoma. Hepatic dysfunction was present in both patients; in one patient, a chronic carrier of hepatitis B virus, the liver dysfunction was associated with reactivation of hepatitis B manifested by anicteric hepatitis and hepatitis B e antigen positivity. Marked tumor regression had occurred in both patients, and chemotherapy was discontinued in spite of the elevated alpha FP level. The alpha FP content in the serum gradually returned to normal, and hepatic dysfunction resolved. Both patients remain free of disease 15 and 17 months following the last chemotherapy treatment. These cases illustrate that hepatic dysfunction and alpha FP production may occur during chemotherapy and that increases in serum alpha FP content must be interpreted with caution since the elevated alpha FP level does not always indicate progression of germ cell tumors.[1]


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