Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA)
|See Also||Lab Tests|
Carcinoembryonic antigen or CEA is a protein normally found in fetal gut tissue. Detectable serum levels normally disappear by birth. However, CEA found in adults is used as a tumor marker for determining the extent of disease and prognosis in patients with cancer, particularly gastrointestinal or breast. It is also used in monitoring the disease and its treatment., 
- CEA is found in patients with a variety of carcinomas.
- Chronic smokers have also been found to have elevated CEA levels.
- A steadily rising CEA level is often the first sign of tumor recurrence.
- CEA can also be detected in body fluids other than blood which can be indicative of metastasis.
- No fasting is required.
- Factors which can cause increased levels:
- smoking, benign diseases (e.g. cholecystitis, colitis, diverticulitis) and especially liver diseases (e.g. hepatitis, cirrhosis)
- Factors which can cause decreased levels:
- None noted
High levels indicate:
- Cancer (GI, breast, lung, pancreatic, hepatobiliary)
- Inflammation (colitis, cholecystitis, pancreatitis, diverticulitis)
- Peptic ulcer
- CA 27.29 and CA 15-3: These antigens are tumor-associated serum markers available for staging breast cancer and monitoring the treatment of disease.
- CA 19-9: This tumor marker is elevated in pancreatobiliary tumors and colorectal tumors.
- Pagana Kathleen D, Pagana Timothy J (2006) Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, Mosby, Inc
- Weatherby Dicken, Ferguson Scott (2002) Blood Chemistry and CBC Analysis: Clinical Laboratory Testing from a Functional Perspective, Bear Mountain.