Test Catalog

Test ID: MCEA    
Carcinoembryonic Antigen, monoclonal (mCEA) Immunostain, Technical Component Only

Useful For Suggests clinical disorders or settings where the test may be helpful

Marker of epithelial cells

Testing Algorithm Delineates situations when tests are added to the initial order. This includes reflex and additional tests.

For the initial technical component only immunohistochemical (IHC) stain performed, the appropriate bill-only test ID will be reflexed and charged (IHTOI). For each additional technical component only IHC stain performed, an additional bill-only test ID will be reflexed and charged (IHTOA).

Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test

In tissue sections of normal colon, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is mainly localized at the apical border of the epithelial cells. Monoclonal CEA antibodies label the epithelium of colonic adenocarcinoma, normal adult colonic mucosa, and normal gastric foveolar mucus-producing cells.

Interpretation Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

This test includes only technical performance of the stain (no pathologist interpretation is performed). Mayo Clinic cannot provide an interpretation of tech only stains outside the context of a pathology consultation. If an interpretation is needed, refer to PATHC / Pathology Consultation for a full diagnostic evaluation or second opinion of the case. All material associated with the case is required. Additional specific stains may be requested as part of the pathology consultation, and will be performed as necessary at the discretion of the Mayo pathologist.


The positive and negative controls are verified as showing appropriate immunoreactivity and documentation is retained at Mayo Clinic Rochester. If a control tissue is not included on the slide, a scanned image of the relevant quality control tissue is available upon request. Contact 855-516-8404.


Interpretation of this test should be performed in the context of the patient's clinical history and other diagnostic tests by a qualified pathologist.

Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances

Age of a cut paraffin section can affect immunoreactivity. Stability thresholds vary widely among published literature and are antigen-dependent. Best practice is for paraffin sections to be cut within 6 weeks.

Clinical Reference Recommendations for in-depth reading of a clinical nature

1. Costa MJ, Kenny MB, Judd R: Adenocarcinoma and adenosquamous carcinoma of the uterine cervix. Histologic and immunohistochemical features with clinical correlation. Int J Surg Pathol 1994;1:181-189

2. Sheahan K, O'Brien MJ, Burke B, et al: Differential reactivities of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and CEA-related monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies in common epithelial malignancies. Am J Clin Pathol 1990;94:157-164

3. Sumitoma S, Kumasa S, Mitani H, et al: Comparison of CEA distribution in lesions and tumors of salivary glands as determined with monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies. Circhows Arch B 1987;53:133-139

4. Wong HH, Chu P: Immunohistochemical features of the gastrointestinal tract tumors. J Gastrointest Oncol 2012;3(3):262-284