Carcinoembriyonik antigen (CEA) is an acknowledged member of immunglobulin superfamily, with a role as an intracellular adhesion molecule. A high serum CEA is associated with a number of malignancies, including colorectal, breast, gastric and pancreatic cancers. Many studies have shown that increased preoperative serum CEA levels are associated with an increased risk of recurrence and a poor prognosis and the prognostic effect of the serum CEA level is independent of the tumornode-metastasis stage. CEA is a 180-kDa GPI-linked glycoprotein expressed on the cell surface of the normal adult colon at very low levels. However, during carcinogenesis, this oncofetal protein becomes much more highly expressed on the cell surface. Additionally, this protein can be shed into the circulation and measured as a serum tumor marker, reflective of the burden of disease. High levels of CEA expression have been noted on a variety of gastrointestinal epithelial tumors. Adenocarcinoma of the pancreas is no exception, where increased CEA expression has been reported.
Sisik A, Kaya M, Bas G, et al. CEA and CA 19-9 are still valuable markers for the prognosis of colorectal and gastric cancer patients[J]. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 2013, 14(7): 4289-4294.