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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Tumor Markers. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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The Oncofetal Antigens

During fetal development, certain proteins are produced by the developing embryonic tissues that support the function, growth, and development of the organism. These proteins are later replaced by the proteins that play specific structural or transport roles throughout the adult life of the organism or individual.
Occasionally, tumor cells develop that begin to produce these proteins that are associated with fetal development, referred to as oncofetal antigens. The most widely studied oncofetal antigens are:
  • Alpha fetoprotein (AFP)
  • Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)