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Carcinoembryonic Antigen CEA Test

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Carcino Embryonic Antigen Test Overview

Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is a glycoprotein normally found in embryonic stage. Its concentration in blood increases in certain tumors i.e.,   colorectal cancer,  medullary thyroid carcinoma, breast, gastrointestinal tract, liver, lung, ovarian, pancreatic  and prostatic cancers.
It is often used for monitoring colorectal & gastrointestinal cancer patients and their response to treatment

An example of a tumor marker used to track cancer is CEA. Cancer, or the body's response to cancer, produces compounds known as tumor markers. A number of causes can cause elevated CEA levels. As a consequence, this test is not utilized as a general cancer screening technique. It is also unable to independently diagnose cancer.

An embryonic stage glycoprotein called CEA is typically present. In certain tumors, such as colorectal cancer, medullary thyroid carcinoma, breast, gastrointestinal tract, liver, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostatic cancer, its blood concentration rises.

It is frequently used to track patients with gastrointestinal and colorectal cancer, as well as their treatment response.

Who should do the CEA Serum Test?

A person who has received a cancer diagnosis might require this test. The doctor performs the test on the patient before starting the therapy and after that. This process will help the doctor assess the efficacy of the patient's treatment. After the therapy is over, the patient might also have a CEA test. The test can assist in determining whether cancer has returned or not.

What other Tests are Ordered Along with the CEA Serum Test?

It is frequently used in conjunction with other immunohistochemical tests, such as those for BerEp4, WT1, and calretinin. This is because even monoclonal antibodies to CEA have some degree of cross-reactivity and can occasionally produce false positive results.

Written by: Dr Kavitha A , MBBS,MD Pathology

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Carcinoembryonic Antigen CEA Test Price

Metropolis Healthcare is a leading diagnostics centre and pathology lab in India equipped with the latest state-of-the-art technologies that provides the Carcinoembryonic Antigen CEA Test with a clear pricing structure.

The Carcinoembryonic Antigen CEA Test Price in Mumbai is ₹ 950 .

We are committed to deliver accurate and quality results from the best labs in India with complete transparency regarding test cost and turnaround time. No matter where you are, we strive to offer patients high-quality service that is affordable and accessible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Carcino embryonic antigen test is done to monitor patients of malignancy especially colorectal and gastrointestinal cancer.  
Serial monitoring of CEA is done to compare concentrations before and after treatment and also to establish a possible recurrence. Thus it can help assessing the effectiveness of chemotherapy or radiotherapy
This test is not a effective tool to diagnose cancer

carcino embryonic antigen test measures  CEA a glycoprotein, in blood of the patients. Levels increase in patients with certain type of cancers 

The test analyzes a glycoprotein called CEA in the patients' blood. Patients with certain types of cancer experience higher levels.

Carcino embryonic antigen test requires a blood sample. A tourniquet (elastic) band is placed tightly on the upper arm. The patient is then asked to make a fist. This helps in the build-up of blood filling the veins. The skin is disinfected before needle insertion and the blood sample is collected in vacutainer. 

The test requires a blood sample. A tourniquet (elastic band) is tightly tied to the upper arm. The patient is then asked to make a fist. This facilitates the blood filling of the veins. The skin is cleansed before the needle insertion, and the blood sample is collected using a vacutainer.

The results of carcino embryonic antigen test when done over an interval help monitor condition of the patient and his response to treatment. However, a gross increase of CEA to >20 ng/mL in a patient with compatible symptoms are  suggestive of the presence of cancer. 
CEA levels fall after successful treatment to normal levels in 1-4 months
Levels may increase in certain non-cancerous conditions like smoking, hepatic disease, trauma, ulcerative colitis, pancreatitis, cirrhosis,  COPD, Crohn's disease and hypothyroidism. Though the level in such cases is below 10 ng/ mL 
Patients should do a follow-up testing preferably through the same laboratory as different assays can give different result values on the same sample

CEA results may be elevated due to one or more of the following reasons:

  • Smoking.
  • Liver disease.
  • Trauma.
  • Ulcerative colitis.
  • Pancreatitis.
  • Cirrhosis.
  • COPD.
  • Crohn's disease.


This test can be necessary if a person has been diagnosed with cancer. The doctor may perform tests on the patient before beginning the therapy and then on a regular basis moving forward. This can help the doctor evaluate how well the treatment is working. The patient could also get a CEA test when the therapy is finished. The test can help in figuring out whether cancer has come back.

This test can be taken:

  • After the diagnosis to help assist the doctor in choosing the best course of action.
  • During treatment to help assess the effectiveness of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, or other treatments.
    • Following therapy to determine if cancer has returned.

Nothing needs to be done in advance. However, a person must inform the physician if he/she:

  • Smoke.
  • Pregnant.

Take aspirin or other medications that could cause bleeding

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