CEA / CD66e

Topic Completed: 1 November 2014

Minor changes: 28 February 2019

Copyright: 2003-2018,, Inc.

PubMed Search: CEA[title]

Related topics: General, CD66b, CD66c, CD66d, CD66f

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N. CEA / CD66e. website. Accessed August 14th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Also called CEA, carcinoembryonic antigen and CEACAM5
  • Either polyclonal (pCEA) or monoclonal (mCEA)
  • Normally detected in glycocalyx of fetal epithelial cells
  • May play a role in the metastasis of cancer cells
  • Usually considered an epithelial marker with strong staining in adenocarcinomas
Case reports
Uses by pathologists
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on Pathout server:
Courtesy of Andrey Bychkov, M.D., Ph.D.:

C cells in relation to thyroid follicle

Clustered C cells

Cervical adenoid cystic carcinoma

Images hosted on other servers:

Ampulla of Vater-Paneth cell carcinoma (figure G)

Breast adenoid cystic carcinoma (fig 13)

Positive signet ring cells (fig D)

Intestinal differentiation (fig D)

Colon inverted
hyperplastic polyp
(normal colon at
upper right is CEA-)

metastatic to
colon (fig 4)

Lung adenocarcinoma
metastatic to ovary
(figure 2B)

Medullary thyroid carcinoma (fig 7)

Paget disease of vulva (fig 11)

Paget disease of scrotum

Secretory meningioma (left, fig 10; right, fig 11)


Peritoneal benign multicystic
mesothelioma (an atypical
finding, fig 2F)

Sweat gland carcinoma(fig 8B)

Various images: quality control

Cytology images

Images hosted on other servers:

Cholangiocarcinoma (fig 8)

Positive staining - normal
  • Granulocytes and epithelial cells (apical surfaces)
  • Also biliary tract including gallbladder, colon (fetal), hepatocytes, prostatic secretory cells (25%) and small intestinal crypts
  • Small intestinal goblet cell mucin (not intracytoplasmic), thyroid cell nests and C cells
Positive staining - tumors
Negative staining
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