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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

UW Hospital and Clinics Lab Test Directory

Test Name: Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA)

Test Code(s): CEA

CPT Code(s): 82378

Methodology: Chemiluminescent Immunoassay

Days Performed: Mon-Fri, dayshift.

Turnaround Time: Stat: Not available stat.
Routine: Next working day.

Specimen Requirements

Specimen: Blood

Collection Container: Preferred: Red cap with yellow ring (SST)
Also Acceptable: Red top

Collection Volume: Preferred: 1 mL
Pediatrics: 0.5 mL

Sample Analyzed: Serum

Volume Required: Preferred: 0.5 mL
Pediatrics: 0.15 mL

Specimen Processing: Centrifuge.  If a complete barrier has not formed, transfer cell-free serum to plastic vial.  Refrigerate.

Specimen Transport: Transport specimen to UWHC Core Laboratory (B4/220). Transport with coolant pack if coming from outreach location.

Stability: Ambient: 8 hours
Refrigerated: 48 hours
Frozen: Freeze if sample will not be assayed within 48 hours.


Reference Interval:

0 days and up:  0.0 - 3.0 ng/mL


CEA levels in smokers may be as high as 8.0 ng/mL or higher.

Test Limitations:

Results may be affected if patient has developed heterophilic antibodies due to exposure to animal based protein.

A high dose hook effect is not seen in results up to >100,000 ng/mL.

Additional Information:

The Siemens ADVIA Centaur method is used.  Results obtained with different assay methods or kits cannot be used interchangeably.

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