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ARTICLE |

Clinical Evaluation of Carcinoembryonic Antigen Test

William R. Meeker Jr., MD; Rafiah Kashmiri, MS; Larry Hunter; William Clapp; Ward O. Griffen Jr, MD, PhD
Arch Surg. 1973;107(2):266-274. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1973.01350200128027.
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We have measured plasma levels of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) in 259 patients with a variety of cancers, 266 patients with noncancerous disease, and 176 healthy subjects. Sixty-six of 73 patients with malignant tumors of the gastrointestinal tract had elevated (> 2.5 ng/ml) CEA levels. There was no correlation between CEA level and extent of disease. Inconsistencies were noted between clinical status and CEA levels during follow-up of seven of 26 patients 3 to 96 months postoperatively. Elevated levels of CEA were detected in 117 of 186 patients with nonentodermally derived tumors, 83 of 183 patients with noncancerous disease, and 19 of 176 healthy individuals. The lack of specificity and sensitivity of the CEA test limit its usefulness as a screening procedure. Our data also suggest that it may have limited value in detecting recurrence.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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