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Biomarkers in Cancer

Correlation Between Preoperative Serum Carcinoembryonic Antigen Levels and Expression on Pancreatic and Rectal Cancer Tissue

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Biomarkers in Cancer 2017:9 1179299X17710016

Original Research

Published on 17 May 2017

DOI: 10.1177/1179299X17710016


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Abstract

Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA)–targeted imaging and therapeutic agents are being tested in clinical trials. If CEA overexpression in malignant tissue corresponds with elevated serum CEA, serum CEA could assist in selecting patients who may benefit from CEA-targeted agents. This study aims to assess the relationship between serum CEA and CEA expression in pancreatic (n = 20) and rectal cancer tissues (n = 35) using histopathology. According to local laboratory standards, a serum CEA >3 ng/mL was considered elevated. In pancreatic cancer patients a significant correlation between serum CEA and percentage of CEA-expressing tumor cells was observed (P = .04, ρ = .47). All 6 patients with homogeneous CEA expression in the tumor had a serum CEA >3 ng/mL. Most rectal cancer tissues (32/35) showed homogeneous CEA expression, independent of serum CEA levels. This study suggests that selection of pancreatic cancer patients for CEA-targeted agents via serum CEA appears adequate. For selection of rectal cancer patients, serum CEA levels are not informative.



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