CEA is a glycoprotein with a molecular weight of 180Kd. CEA belongs to the group oncofetal antigens that are produced during embryonic and fetal periods. CEA synthesis is suppressed after birth and, consequently, its values are low in healthy adults (it appears in very low quantities in intestinal tissue, pancreatic and liver tissue).
Significant increases in CEA concentrations are found in various cancers (colorectal cancer, pancreatic, gastric, lung, breast, cervical, ovarian) CEA determination in cerebrospinal fluid may be useful in the diagnosis of primary and secondary tumors of the central nervous system and the determination of the pleural fluid is useful in the diagnosis of paraneoplastic pleurisy lung carcinomas, breast, digestive and ovaries (in combination with CA 125).
Recommendations for CEA determining – patient monitoring (response to treatment, possible indicator of tumor recurrence and prognosis) with various cancers (colorectal cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, gastric cancer, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer).
Method – ELISA
Normal values <5 ng / mL (non- smokers); <7 ng / mL (smokers).
CEA cannot be used for screening purposes.
Increases mild or moderate (rarely above 10 ng / mL) are common in smokers and in some benign bowel disease (ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, polyposis), pancreas (pancreatitis), liver (cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis), kidney (renal failure), lungs (emphysema) and mammary glands.