How is a serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) level used in the workup of colon cancer?

Updated: Apr 15, 2020
  • Author: Tomislav Dragovich, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: N Joseph Espat, MD, MS, FACS  more...
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Answer

A baseline CEA level should be obtained preoperatively as it carries prognostic value and when highly elevated may indicate more advanced, disseminated disease. Increased levels of serum CEA have been associated with an adverse prognosis in patients with resectable colorectal cancer; however, this biochemical marker has not as of yet been included in colorectal cancer staging guidelines. [50]


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