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Triple Marker Test

What is Triple Marker Test?

The triple marker screen test is also known as the triple test, multiple marker test, multiple marker screening, and AFP Plus. It analyzes how likely an unborn baby is to have certain genetic disorders. The exam measures the levels of three important substances in the placenta: alpha-fetoprotein (AFP).

Why take Triple Marker Test?

Triple marker tests identify pregnancies that have a high risk of babies having the following abnormalities:

  • Trisomy 21 (Down’s syndrome)
  • Trisomy 18 (Edward syndrome)
  • Neural tube defects

These tests are NOT diagnostic tests. Your doctor will order a confirmatory test when the screening test is positive (high risk)

Is this test for you?

This test is conducted between the 14th and 18th weeks of pregnancy.
The test is often most recommended under the following scenarios

  • Age of the pregnant woman is above 35
  • Dual Marker tests were abnormal
  • Birth defects in the family
  • The pregnant woman is diabetic and under insulin medication
  • If it is suspected that the pregnant woman was exposed to a high dose of radiation
  • A viral infection during pregnancy

More about Triple Marker Test?

AFP (Alpha-fetoprotein) AFP or alpha fetoprotein is made by the foetal liver and some amount of this substance gets into the mother’s blood. Higher levels of AFP are seen in Neural tube defects and levels are decreased in Down syndrome and Edward syndrome. What if I am a man and have high AFP level? What if I am a non-pregnant woman and have high AFP level? In men, non-pregnant women, and children, AFP in the blood can mean certain types of cancer, especially cancer of the testicles, ovaries, stomach, pancreas, or liver are present. uE3 (Unconjugated Estriol) Estriol is a hormone produced by the placenta, using ingredients made by the fetal liver and adrenal glands. In pregnancies with Down Syndrome or Edward Syndrome, it is observed that the Estriol levels are reduced.

Your doctor will help you interpret your report basis your test results
Increased risk for HCG uE3 AFP Inhibin A
Open spina bifida Normal Normal High Not Applicable
Anencephaly Low Low High Not Applicable
Down syndrome High Low Low High
Edwards syndrome Low Low Variable Not Applicable

In pregnancies with Down Syndrome, high levels of HCG and Inhibin A are observed
In pregnancies with Edwards Syndrome, HCG and Estriol levels are low
Open Neural Tube defect is suspected when AFP levels are high. Opening in the spine may lead to more AFP leaking into the mother’s blood

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