CEA is an oncofetal glycoprotein, which is found at high levels in the fetal colon and at lower levels in the normal adult colonic epithelium. CEA occurs at abnormally high levels in several benign disorders and in some malignant tumors, including those of the stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, pancreas, liver, breast, ovary, cervix, and lung. CEA is a 180-kD glycoprotein that occurs at high levels in colon epithelial cells during embryonic development. Levels of CEA are significantly lower in colon tissue of adults, but can become elevated when inflammation or tumors’ arise in any endodermal tissue, including in the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, pancreas and breast. CEA is also expressed by epithelial cells in several non-malignant disorders, including diverticulitis, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, cirrhosis, hepatitis, bronchitis and renal failure and also in individuals who smoke. This fact has made it difficult to use serum CEA determination as a sensitive method for cancer screening. However, serum CEA levels have been useful in monitoring individuals for the recurrence of cancer.
Measuring the activity of the carcinoma in the body