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Laboratory Medicine

Test Directory / Carcinoembryonic Antigen

Carcinoembryonic Antigen

Brown clotted serum, gel barrier

TestCarcinoembryonic Antigen
Common AbbreviationsCEA
Tube typeBrown clotted serum, gel barrier
Clinical IndicationCEA levels can be elevated in almost any advanced adenocarcinoma. It is almost never elevated in early malignancy. Its main clinical applications are in surveillance following curative resection of colorectal cancer and in monitoring therapy in advanced colorectal cancer. It may also be used for the identification of liver metastases. Benign conditions that can cause elevations in CEA include hepatitis, cirrhosis, alcoholic liver diease, Crohn's disease, pancreatitis, bronchitis, emphysema and renal disease. Levels may be moderately elevated in individuals who smoke.
Specimen TypeBlood
Sample typeSerum
Minimum Volume0.5mL If requesting more than 10 tests please send an additional brown clotted serum sample.
Special PrecautionsNo special requirements
Stability7 days at 20-25oC, 14 days at 2-8oC and 6 months at -20oC
Turnaround TimeInpatient: 24 hours Outpatient/ GP: 24 hours
LaboratoryYork and Scarborough
Reference Interval< 3.8 µg/L (non smokers) < 5.5 µg/L (smokers)
LimitationsAnalysis should not be performed on grossly haemolysed, icteric or lipaemic samples. The assay is unaffected by biotin < 286 nmol/L or < 70 ng/mL. No interference was observed from rheumatoid factors up to a concentration of 1200 IU/mL Samples should not be taken from patients receiving therapy with high biotin doses (i.e. > 5 mg/day) until at least 8 hours following the last biotin administration. In vitro tests were performed on 16 commonly used pharmaceuticals. No interference with the assay was found. In addition, special cancer drugs were tested. No interference with the assay was found. In rare cases, interference due to extremely high titers of antibodies to analyte specific antibodies, streptavidin or ruthenium can occur.
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