Lab Update:(Dr Arpan Gandhi and Dr Navin Dang)
Formal name: Carcinoembryonic Antigen
Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) is a protein found in embryonic tissues.
Purpose of the test: To determine whether cancer is present in the body and to monitor cancer treatment.
When you have symptoms that suggest the possibility of cancer your doctor will prescribe this tests. Also this test is performed before starting cancer treatment especially in patients with Gastro Intestinal cancer, as well as at intervals during and after therapy to monitor treatment and recovery.
CEA levels are high on embryonic tissues.
Patients with smaller and early-stage tumors normally have low or normal CEA levels, while patients with more advanced tumors, or tumors that have spread throughout the body, are likely to have initially high CEA levels.
CEA levels decreased to “normal” levels after therapy means that the tumor has been removed.
If CEA levels return to rise steadily it can be the first sign of tumor recurrence.