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Test Code CEA Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA)

Specimen Type



Mint green top with gel separator

Preferred Volume

3.5 mL


Monday – Friday 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Turnaround Time

24 – 72 hrs

STAT Availability

Not Available

Test Usage

Immunoassay for the in vitro quantitative determination of carcinoembryonic antigen in human serum and plasma. The Elecsys CEA assay is further indicated for serial measurement of CEA to aid in the management of cancer patients.

Test Methodology

Roche Elecsys CEA, Electrochemiluminescence Immunoassay (ECL)

Additional Information

The measured CEA value of a patient’s sample can vary depending on the testing procedure used. CEA values determined on patient samples by different testing procedures cannot be directly compared with one another and could be the cause of erroneous medical interpretations.
CEA determinations are not recommended for cancer-screening in the general population. CEA concentrations within the normal range do not exclude the possible presence of a malignant disease.
The formation of CEA is repressed after birth, and accordingly serum CEA values are hardly measurable in healthy adults. High CEA concentrations are frequently found in cases of colorectal adenocarcinoma. Slight to moderate CEA elevations (rarely > 10 ng/mL) occur in 20-50 % of benign diseases of the intestine, the pancreas, the liver, and the lungs (e.g. liver cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis, pancreatitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s Disease, emphysema).  Smokers also have elevated CEA values. 
The main indication for CEA determinations is the follow-up and therapy-management of colorectal carcinoma.

CPT Code


Test Includes

Carcinoembryonic antigen determination

Critical Results


Reference Range

Non-smoker: 0 – 3.4 ng/mL 
Smoker: up to 5.0 ng/mL

Coverage Information

CMS has established a national coverage policy (NCD) for Medicare for this test as of November 25, 2002. Please document medical necessity. For more details click this link:



Minimum Volume

2 mL

Fee Code