Carcinoembryonic antigen - serum

Last updated: Thursday, 08, April, 2004

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Item Process
Specimen

5 mL blood in plain tube.

Method

Immunoassay.

Reference Interval

<2.5 µg/L; smokers <5 µg/L.

Application

Useful to detect recurrence of colonic adenocarcinoma and breast carcinoma following resection.

Not sufficiently specific or sensitive to be used as a screening test for malignant disease.

Interpretation

Increasing levels in patients with a history of colorectal or breast adenocarcinoma suggest local recurrence or metastatic disease.

It may be increased in patients with other carcinomas (lung, liver, pancreas).

Slight increases may be seen in smokers and due to inflammatory bowel disease.

Reference

Duffy MJ et al. Eur J Cancer 2003; 39(6): 718-727.