Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA)

SKU 1032 Category Tag

Additional information

Response time (working day) | Time to results


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Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) Is a glycoprotein, which belongs to the group of oncophetal proteins, produced by cells of the digestive tract in the prenatal period (liver, intestines, pancreas), its synthesis is sharply inhibited after birth, and its level in the serum of healthy people is minimal.

Expression of CEA is observed in normal and malignant processes in various tissue cells. The increase in its level can be due to the growth of malignant tumors, as well as various inflammatory and benign processes: some patients with a confirmed diagnostics of carcinoma may have normal CEA levels, on the other hand, elevated levels are manifested in smokers, carcinoma patients and other benign patients. By processes. Therefore, the results of CEA can not be uniquely interpreted as the presence or absence of carcinoma.

It is most advisable to use CEA at the stage of monitoring the effectiveness of treatment (however, it is necessary to test before starting therapy, since not all types of tumors synthesize this oncomarker).

Normalization of CEA levels occurs 1-4 months after tumor removal (depending on localization and stage). In colorectal cancer, level normalization may occur after 6 weeks, however, elevated level persistence may be associated not only with the presence of a residual tumor but also with adjuvant therapy hepatotoxicity (reported in 21% of patients), which should be considered when interpreting study results.

A re-increase in CEA levels, after normalization, is indicative of the development of recurrence and metastasis, its levels often rising in the weeks leading up to clinical manifestations.

Determination of CEA in cerebrospinal fluid may be useful in diagnosing primary and secondary tumors of the central nervous system, while its determination in pleural fluid is useful in diagnosing paraneoplastic pleurisy in carcinomas of the lung, breast, ovary, and digestive systems.

The CEA definition is not used for population screening.

When should we take the test?

  • Suspicion of cancer (intestines, breasts, lungs, liver, pancreas, stomach);
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of tumor treatment (level normalization after 1-4 months);
  • Control of tumor recurrence and / or metastasis (level increase after normalization).

How to prepare for the test?

The test should be performed on an empty stomach.

Research material

Venous blood

Possible interpretation of the results

Increased levels of carcinoembryonic antigen:

Malignant tumors:

  • Colorectal cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer (specific increase in CEA level).
  • Medullary carcinoma of the thyroid gland, cancer of the pancreas, liver, ovary, prostate (increase in CEA levels in combination with other tumor markers).

Somatic pathology:

  • Hepatitis, cirrhosis, pancreatitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, lung disease;
  • Inflammatory processes and benign prostatic hyperplasia, trauma, biopsy;
  • Chronic renal failure.
  • Normally elevated levels in smokers.


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