Carcinoembryonic Antigen

Michael D. Turner, MD
JAMA. 1975;231(7):756-758. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03240190060024.
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GOLD AND Freedman,1 in 1965, reported that carcinomata of the colon contained an antigen that was absent from normal human adult intestinal mucosa but was present in primitive entoderm. The authors named this material carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) of the digestive system. This substance was initially identified by immunizing rabbits with extracts of colonic carcinoma, absorbing the antisera with normal tissue (from the individual bearing the tumor), and testing the absorbed antisera by agar gel diffusion against extracts of human tumor. Such absorbed sera gave precipitin arcs against extracts of tumor but gave no reaction with normal adult tissue. Similar results were obtained by others.2 Red blood cells coated with CEA were agglutinated by sera obtained from normal women in early pregnancy and by the sera of some patients with localized colonic carcinomata without metastases.3 From these results, it was concluded that CEA was tumor-specific and antigenic to


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