Carcinoembryonic antigen in cerebrospinal fluid of adult brain-tumor patients

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✓ Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) was measured in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in patients with neoplasms and non-neoplastic neurologic conditions of the central nervous system (CNS). Seventy-two control patients had a mean CEAcsf of 0.04 ng/cu cm, 31 patients with benign tumors had a mean CEAcsf of 0.03 ng/cu cm, and 21 patients with malignant CNS tumors had mean CEAcsf of 21.7 ng/cu cm. In the absence of intradural metastasis, the existence of non-CNS malignancies did not cause CEA to appear in the CSF. There was no relationship between the plasma and CSF levels of CEA. The CSF is normally free of CEA, and its detection is strongly suggestive of either primary or secondary intradural malignancy. The titres of CEA decline with effective therapy, and may be of use in monitoring treated patients for recurrence.

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Address reprint requests to: Stephen Hill, M.D., University Hospital, N911, 410 West 10th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210.

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    Ratio of carcinoembryonic antigen levels in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to total CSF protein. CNS = central nervous system.

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