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Test ID: CEA Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA), Serum

Reporting Name

Carcinoembryonic Ag (CEA), S

Useful For

Monitoring colorectal cancer and selected other cancers such as medullary thyroid carcinoma

 

May be useful in assessing the effectiveness of chemotherapy or radiation treatment

 

Carcinoembryonic antigen levels are not useful in screening the general population for undetected cancers.

Specimen Type

Serum


Specimen Required


Container/Tube:

Preferred: Serum gel

Acceptable: Red top

Specimen Volume: 0.6 mL

Collection Instructions:

1. Serum gel tubes should be centrifuged within 2 hours of collection.

2. Red-top tubes should be centrifuged and aliquoted within 2 hours of collection.


Specimen Minimum Volume

0.5 mL

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time
Serum Refrigerated (preferred) 7 days
  Frozen  90 days

Reference Values

Nonsmokers: ≤3.0 ng/mL

Some smokers may have elevated CEA, usually <5.0 ng/mL.

Serum markers are not specific for malignancy, and values may vary by method.

Day(s) and Time(s) Performed

Monday through Friday; 5 a.m.–12 a.m., Saturday; 6 a.m.–6 p.m.

Test Classification

This test has been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is used per manufacturer's instructions. Performance characteristics were verified by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements.

CPT Code Information

82378

LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
CEA Carcinoembryonic Ag (CEA), S 83085-1

 

Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
CEA Carcinoembryonic Ag (CEA), S 83085-1

Clinical Information

Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is a glycoprotein normally found in embryonic entodermal epithelium.

 

Increased levels may be found in patients with primary colorectal cancer or other malignancies including medullary thyroid carcinoma and breast, gastrointestinal tract, liver, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostatic cancers.

 

Serial monitoring of CEA should begin prior to therapy to verify post therapy decrease in concentration and to establish a baseline for evaluating possible recurrence. Levels generally return to normal within 1 to 4 months after removal of cancerous tissue.

Interpretation

Grossly elevated carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) concentrations (>20 ng/mL) in a patient with compatible symptoms are strongly suggestive of the presence of cancer and also suggest metastasis.

 

Most healthy subjects (97%) have values ≤3.0 ng/mL.

 

After removal of a colorectal tumor, the serum CEA concentration should return to normal by 6 weeks, unless there is residual tumor.

 

Increases in test values over time in a patient with a history of cancer suggest tumor recurrence.

Clinical Reference

1. Chan DW, Booth RA, Diamandis EP, et al: In Tietz Textbook of Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics. Fourth edition. Edited by CA Burtis, ER Ashwood, DE Bruns. St. Louis, Elsevier, Inc., 2006 pp 768-769

2. Locker, GY, Hamilton S, Harris J, et al: ASCO 2006 update of recommendations for the use of tumor markers in gastrointestinal cancer. J Clin Oncol 2006;24:5313-5327

3. Moertel CG, Fleming TR, Macdonald JS, et al: An evaluation of the carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test for monitoring patients with resected colon cancer. JAMA 1993;270:943-947

Analytic Time

Same day/1 day

Method Name

Immunoenzymatic Assay

Forms

If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send an Oncology Test Request (T729) with the specimen.

Mayo Clinic Laboratories | Oncology Catalog Additional Information:

mml-endocrine-cancer, mml-gastrointestinal-cancer