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Laboratory Test Reference Guide

Laboratory Information

Test Name



Carcino embryonic antigen

External Price (excl. GST)



Specimen Collection

Adult Specimen

SST (gold) preferred, also Heparin (light green)

Paediatric Specimen

0.6ml Heparin (light green) or plain(red).

Test Information



Test Availability

Mon - Sun, 24hrs

Laboratory Turnaround Time



Cobas 6000

Reference Interval

Normal: < 5 ug/L

Smokers: < 7ug/L

Uncertainty Of Measurement


Diagnostic Use Or Instructions

Choosing Clinical Laboratory Tests Wisely Guidelines:

CEA is elevated in patients with a wide range of malignancies including colorectal, gastric, pancreatic, lung, breast, and medullary thyroid cancer. It is also elevated in non-malignant disorders; ulcerative colitis, pancreatitis, cirrhosis, pleural inflammation, chronic renal failure and in smokers. It is most widely used in monitoring colorectal cancer (CRC) but is not sufficiently sensitive to be used in screening.

CEA testing is indicated in/for:

  • diagnostic work up for ovarian masses in postmenopausal women.
  • further investigation when a patient has imaging abnormalities e.g. a mass.
  • at diagnosis of CRC (to provide prognostic information),
  • after treatment of CRC (to monitor response and detect relapse),
  • in some cases of breast cancer to monitor response after treatment and detect relapse.

Minimum Volume

0.3 mL serum or heparin plasma

Electronic Information

Registration Code


HL7Mapping Code