Specimen Requirements


Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA)

Specimen Requirement

1 SST/1.0 mL serum (0.2 mL minimum). After 30 minutes of clotting, promptly centrifuge.



Refrigerated: 7 days; Frozen: 6 months

Reference Range

By Report


1 day

Clinical Use

Increased serum CEA levels have been detected in persons with primary colorectal cancer and in patients with other malignancies including gastrointestinal tract, breast, lung, ovarian, prostatic, liver, and pancreatic cancers. Elevated serum CEA levels have also been detected in patients with nonmalignant disease, especially patients who are older or who are smokers. CEA levels are not useful in screening the general population for undetected cancers; however, CEA levels provide important information about patient prognosis, recurrence of tumors after surgical removal, and effectiveness of therapy.

Test Code