Issue: 2010 > November > review

Hereditary persistence of alpha-fetoprotein (HPAF P): review of the literature

A.C. Houwert, J.C. Giltay, E.G.W.M. Lentjes, M.T.W.T. Lock


Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) serum levels are raised in several clinical conditions, ranging from non-pathological
conditions to malignancies. Hereditary persistence of
alpha-fetoprotein (HPAFP) is a rare benign disorder with
elevated AFP levels. HPAFP is described as a benign
autosomal dominantly inherited condition which is
not associated with any clinical disability or additional
symptoms. In the past 28 years, only 19 families have been described; due to this unfamiliarity with HPAFP, elevated AFP levels are never attributed to HPAFP. However, undiagnosed HPAFP can result in inappropriate and unnecessary treatment decisions. Therefore, HPAFP
should be taken into consideration in patients with
unexplained elevated AFP levels, and especially in patients with urological disorders.