• CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen)

    Asked by fiddler on Friday, August 23, 2019

    CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen)

    Has anyone else had a high CEA reading? What does it mean? I had a blood draw and my result was 4.1; the normal range is 0.0-4.9 ng/mL.

    This is concerning me because alkaline phosphatase is 124; normal 39-115 (could be liver problem), and gamma glutamyltransferase is 64; normal 2-65 (liver). I'm not an alcoholic.

    TNBC is known to "comes back" in the liver.

    Anyone with knowledge about these things?


    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      Carm will probably know something about this. She will check in later I'm sure.

      6 months ago
    • JaneA's Avatar

      CEA is a biomarker for several cancers including breast and colorectal cancer. However, the CEA level can rise due to inflammation too. CEA is most commonly associated with colorectal cancer and is routinely monitored to evaluate response to treatment and afterward, to help detect recurrences.

      Yours is within normal limits - oncologists look at the trend of our CEA as one part of monitoring for recurrence. I am a Stage IV rectal cancer survivor, and I'm 5 years out from diagnosis, but my oncologist still measures my CEA quarterly. If your oncologist isn't worried about your numbers, I wouldn't worry either.

      6 months ago
    • carm's Avatar

      A tumor marker like a CEA contain a substance that can elevate when there is cancer in the body. However, it is not very specific; meaning non-cancer health issues can also cause them to elevate.
      These markers should be used along with scans and exams by your hematologist/oncologist/IM or a GI MD. Both benign and malignant conditions can increase a CEA level. The most frequent cancer which causes an increased CEA is, of course cancer of the colon and rectum. As to the elevated liver enzyme it doesn't always mean cancer. The majority of the population have a fatty liver. This tends to elevate that number for many. I hope this helps to explain.

      6 months ago
    • fiddler's Avatar

      Thank you for your support! I’m in the process of discussing this with my Onco doc

      6 months ago
    • Goldquest's Avatar

      I believe your test results of 4.1 falls within the normal range. Anything over 4.9 would be on the high side. Are you sure 4.9 is the high normal? I realize different labs can have different normal values but check out the range just to be sure.

      6 months ago
    • fiddler's Avatar

      Goldquest: the range is from 0.0 to 4.9.

      6 months ago

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