Papers And Originals

Carcinoembryonic Antigen in Management of Colorectal Carcinoma

Br Med J 1974; 4 doi: (Published 26 October 1974) Cite this as: Br Med J 1974;4:183
  1. S. N. Booth,
  2. G. C. Jamieson,
  3. J. P. G. King,
  4. J. Leonard,
  5. G. D. Oates,
  6. P. W. Dykes


    Carcinoembryonic antigen (C.E.A.) estimation has been used in the preoperative assessment of colorectal carcinoma patients and has been shown to give a useful guide to the presence of metastatic disease and ultimately to a poor prognosis if the serum concentration is 100 ng/ml or more. C.E.A. has been shown to be a more reliable index of tumour spread than either clinical examination or serum alkaline phosphatase estimation. Raised C.E.A. levels of less than 100 ng/ml do not, however, necessarily imply a poor prognosis. Routine C.E.A. estimation may have a valuable role in the assessment of the colorectal cancer patient by identifying those likely to benefit from postoperative chemotherapy.

    The test has also been assessed in a group of patients attending cancer follow-up clinics after radical resection of a colorectal tumour. Raised C.E.A. occurred in most of those developing recurrent disease, and in several patients a rising C.E.A. level preceded clinical or biochemical evidence of recurrence. C.E.A. estimation is a superior guide and of clinical importance when applied to the follow-up of the colorectal cancer patient.