Carcinoembryonic antigen

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CEA immunostaining in C-cell hyperplasia. (WC)

Carcinoembryonic antigen, abbreviated CEA, is set of glycoproteins present during fetal development and associated with the gastrointestinal tract.

In pathology, they are associated with gastrointestinal tract tumours; however, may be seen in other tumours.

Monoclonal & polyclonal

  • Several different types of CEA antibodies are available.

Broadly speaking they are divided into:

  • CEA-p = polyclonal CEA antibody.
  • CEA-m = monocloncal CEA antibody.

The staining is dependent on the specific antibody,[1] as is generally true.


See also


  1. Sheahan, K.; O'Brien, MJ.; Burke, B.; Dervan, PA.; O'Keane, JC.; Gottlieb, LS.; Zamcheck, N. (Aug 1990). "Differential reactivities of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and CEA-related monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies in common epithelial malignancies.". Am J Clin Pathol 94 (2): 157-64. PMID 1695478.
  2. McCluggage, WG.; Sumathi, VP.; McBride, HA.; Patterson, A. (Jan 2002). "A panel of immunohistochemical stains, including carcinoembryonic antigen, vimentin, and estrogen receptor, aids the distinction between primary endometrial and endocervical adenocarcinomas.". Int J Gynecol Pathol 21 (1): 11-5. PMID 11781517.