Assessment of serum carcinoembryonic antigen in colorectal cancer patients treated by surgery and chemotherapy


Objective: Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is a protein found in many types of cellsassociated with tumors and the developing fetus. The main use of CEA is as a tumormarker, especially with intestinal cancer. This study was designed to evaluate theeffect of surgery and chemotherapy on the level of CEA.Patients and methods: The study was carried out in Al-Jamhoory Teaching Hospitalin Mosul from January to July 2010. Thirty patients with colorectal carcinoma weretreated by surgical removal of the cancer and chemotherapy. Blood samples weretaken from the patients one week before surgery and other blood samples were takenone week after surgery. Third blood samples were taken after one week of the firstcycle of chemotherapy. Serum carcinoembryonic antigen, ALP (alkalinephosphatase), ALT (alanine aminotransferase), total serum bilirubin (TSB), andalbumin were estimated from the samples.Results: After surgery serum CEA and WBCs were decreased significantly (P <0.001). Serum ALP was also decreased significantly (P < 0.05), while serum ALT,TSB, and albumin were not changed significantly after surgery compared with theresults before surgery. After chemotherapy, serum CEA and WBCs decreasedsignificantly (P < 0.001) compared with the results after surgery. At the same time,serum ALP, ALT, TSB, and albumin did not change significantly after chemotherapy.Conclusion: Surgical removal of tumor decreased CEA level, but it did notnormalize. Serum CEA can be used as a marker for the effectiveness of thechemotherapy on colorectal cancer.