CEA (Carcinoembryonic Antigen)



Quest Diagnostics Test Code: 978

Includes Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA). Increased CEA levels have been detected in persons with primary colorectal cancer and in patients with other malignancies involving the gastrointestinal tract, breast, lung, ovarian, prostatic, liver and pancreatic cancers.

Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) is a protein that is present in some of the tissue in a developing fetus. By the time the baby is born, these levels usually drop. In adults, they are virtually undetectable, however, it may increase in certain types of cancers. In adult, CEA is tested as a tumor marker for the diagnosis of cancer. Initially it was thought to only increase in colon cancer, but studies have shown that it can be raised in other types of cancer and non-cancerous conditions, like liver cirrhosis. Therefore, this test is not a good screening tool for colon cancer, but rather used as a marker to measure the efficacy of cancer treatment

This test is performed in following conditions such as:

• People who already have colon cancer diagnosed, this is to help determine cancer characteristics and treatment options
• People with colon cancer who are on treatment like radio or chemotherapy to measure the cancer response to treatment


Specimen Collected
  • Blood
Estimated Time Taken

Turnaround time for the CEA test is typically 1 business day.