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Prolonged Rising of Serial Plasma Carcinoembryonic Antigen Levels

Eitan Scapa, MD; Darrow E. Haagensen, MD, PhD; Peter Thomas, PhD; Norman Zamcheck, MD
Arch Intern Med. 1984;144(1):205. doi:10.1001/archinte.1984.00350130237050.
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To the Editor.  —It is generally appreciated that measurements of serial carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) levels are not useful for detection of "early" cancer, but are useful for monitoring therapeutic response, and in detecting recurrence and metastases.1 However, elevated and persistently rising levels may precede the identification of malignant neoplasms.

Report of a Case.  —An 82-year-old man had weight loss, iron deficiency anemia, and stool positive for blood. Diagnostic studies included: upper aspect gastrointestinal (GI) tract series, barium enema, colonoscopy, liver scan, abdomen computed tomographic (CT) scan, and ultrasound examination of the abdomen and intravenous pyelogram. A small area of angiodysplasia in the cecum and a left renal cyst were found. The cyst was aspirated by needle, and no evidence of malignant neoplasms was found. His manifesting plasma CEA levels were 57 ng/mL. He was followed up for 2½ years and felt well except for some weight loss. His plasma


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