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Test Code CEA Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA)

Additional Codes

Epic: LAB57

Specimen Required

Specimen Type: Serum

Collection Container/Type: Serum gel

Submission Container/Tube: Plastic vial

Specimen Volume: 3 mL

Collection Instructions: Centrifuge and separate cells after clot formation and within 4 hours of collection.  

Additional Information: When serial specimens are being evaluated, the same type of specimen should be used throughout the study.

Specimen Minimum Volume

0.2 mL

Specimen Stability

Room temperature: Not established
Refrigerated: 7 days
Frozen: >7 days

Avoid multiple freeze/thaw cycles of specimens.

Reference Range

< 5.0 ng/mL

Rejection Due To

Unlabeled, mislabeled, wrong tube type, QNS, gross hemolysis

Report Available

Same day

Clinical Significance

Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is a glycoprotein normally found in the tissue of a developing baby in the womb. The blood level of this protein disappears or becomes very low after birth.
Increased levels may be found in patients with colorectal or other malignancies including breast, gastrointestinal tract, and lung, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostatic tumors.
CEA levels are not useful in screening the general population for cancer.
CEA levels should not be used alone as absolute evidence of the presence or absence of malignant disease.

Method Name

Chemiluminescent Micro-particle Immunoassay (CMIA)


Patients with Heterophile antibodies (HAMA) may exhibit falsely elevated or falsely depressed results.
ARCHITECT CEA results should not be used interchangeably with other manufacturers’ methods for CEA determinations.
Elevations may be observed in smokers as well as in patients who have non-malignant diseases.  Clinical evaluation and other diagnostic procedures are needed.

CPT Codes




Day(s) Performed