What is the role of carcinoembryonic antigen testing in the evaluation of pancreatic cancer?

Updated: Mar 07, 2019
  • Author: Tomislav Dragovich, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: N Joseph Espat, MD, MS, FACS  more...
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Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is a high–molecular weight glycoprotein found normally in fetal tissues. It has commonly been used as a tumor marker in other gastrointestinal malignancies.

The reference range is less than or equal to 2.5 mg/mL.

Only 40-45% of patients with pancreatic carcinoma have elevated CEA levels.

Because benign and malignant conditions other than pancreatic cancer can lead to elevated CEA levels, CEA is not a sensitive or specific marker for pancreatic cancer.

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