Test Catalog

Test Id : SCCA

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Antigen, Serum

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

Aids in the evaluation and monitoring of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, lung, and cervix


This test should not be used to screen for carcinoma or other disorders including those of the liver, lung, or skin.


In conjunction with clinical evaluation, squamous cell carcinoma antigen measurement may have utility as a nonspecific tumor marker for the presence and monitoring of various squamous cell carcinomas, including those of the head and neck, esophagus, cervix, and lung.

Method Name
A short description of the method used to perform the test

Immunofluorescent Assay (IFA)

NY State Available
Indicates the status of NY State approval and if the test is orderable for NY State clients.


Reporting Name
Lists a shorter or abbreviated version of the Published Name for a test

Squamous Cell Carcinoma Antigen, S

Lists additional common names for a test, as an aid in searching


Specimen Type
Describes the specimen type validated for testing

Serum SST

Specimen Required
Defines the optimal specimen required to perform the test and the preferred volume to complete testing

Collection Container/Tube: Serum gel

Submission Container/Tube: Plastic screw-top vial

Specimen Volume: 0.5 mL

Collection Information: Centrifuge and aliquot serum into a plastic vial. Do not submit in original tube.

Specimen Minimum Volume
Defines the amount of sample necessary to provide a clinically relevant result as determined by the Testing Laboratory

0.2 mL

Reject Due To
Identifies specimen types and conditions that may cause the specimen to be rejected

Gross hemolysis Reject
Gross lipemia OK
Gross icterus Reject

Specimen Stability Information
Provides a description of the temperatures required to transport a specimen to the performing laboratory, alternate acceptable temperatures are also included

Specimen Type Temperature Time Special Container
Serum SST Frozen (preferred) 90 days
Refrigerated 7 days

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

Aids in the evaluation and monitoring of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, lung, and cervix


This test should not be used to screen for carcinoma or other disorders including those of the liver, lung, or skin.

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

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the skin is the second most common form of skin cancer, characterized by abnormal, accelerated cellular growth. SCC antigen (SCCA) represents a subfraction of tumor-associated antigens related to squamous cell carcinoma and is used as a serum tumor marker for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, lung (including esophagus), and other types of SCC. Additionally, associations between serum SCCA concentrations and tumor stage, size, and progression have been observed in SCCs of the cervix and esophagus. SCC is the most common histological type of cervical cancer, accounting for more than 70% of cervical cancer cases in the United States.


SCCA is a cytoplasmic glycoprotein found in normal squamous epithelia and in elevated concentrations in serum from patients with SCCs. SCCA exists as two isoforms, SCCA1 and SCCA2, which are 91% identical at the amino acid level. Total SCCA assays (which measure both SCCA 1 and 2), like this assay, may be used in conjunction with clinical evaluation in the follow-up/monitoring of patients with SCC of the cervix, lung, head and neck, and esophagus.


SCCA serum concentrations may be used for monitoring response to treatment in patients with cervical cancer. Notably, in 46% to 92% of patients who experience recurrence, an elevated level of SCCA after treatment was observed before the clinical manifestation of relapse, with a median lead time of 2 to 8?months. While pretreatment serum SCCA concentrations in patients with cervical cancer are more correlated with tumor burden and prognosis, there is some evidence that it may also help to differentiate patients with and without risk for lymph node metastasis. Furthermore, it has been shown that SCCA is a useful marker in follow-up and therapy monitoring, and that increasing SCCA levels may predict relapse.


Increased serum SCCA values have also been associated with benign inflammatory diseases, including various skin disorders such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, in addition to inflammatory disorders such as asthma. In one report, 70% of patients with psoriasis and dermatitis had SCCA concentrations greater than 2.4 ng/mL (radioimmunoassay reference value), with some patients having SCCA concentrations between 20 and 60 ng/mL. Another study found that median concentrations of SCCA2 were higher in psoriasis (2.7 ng/mL, interquartile range: 1.25-7.75 ng/mL) than in controls (0.7 ng/mL, interquartile range: 0.40-0.80 ng/mL).

Reference Values
Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.

Male: < or =2.00 mcg/L

Females: < or =1.67 mcg/L


Reference values have not been established for patients less than 18 years old.

Provides information to assist in interpretation of the test results

Squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCCA) concentrations alone should not be interpreted as evidence of the presence or absence of malignancy. Although the sensitivity of this assay for the presence of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is not ideal, SCCA remains one of the few clinically viable potential circulating markers used for the detection and monitoring of SCC. Previous estimates of sensitivity are 20% to 53% for lung SCC.(1,2) and 38% for tonsil and tongue SCC.(3) In a previous study, SCCA was elevated (>2 ng/ml) in 21.6% of untreated cervical squamous cell carcinomas.(4) Serum levels of SCCA in cervical cancer were significantly related to tumor stage, size, and depth of infiltration,(5) and may also serve as a prognostic predictor of overall outcome.(6)


SCCA is expressed in normal epithelial tissues and may be elevated in nonmalignant conditions such as tuberculosis, sarcoidosis, eczema, erythroderma, and psoriasis. Psoriasis, in particular, is known to exhibit elevated SCCA concentrations. Additionally, serum concentrations of squamous cell carcinoma antigen have been reported to be elevated in severe cases of atopic dermatitis and asthma. Although there are conflicting reports, SCCA has been shown to be elevated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and may serve as a potential marker of HCC. A study of 961 patients (HCC, n =499).(7) indicated that at a serum SCCA cut-off of 3.8 ng/mL, sensitivity was 42% with a specificity of 83% for patients with HCC.


This Brahms Kryptor total SCCA assay detects both SCCA1 and SCCA2 antigen isoforms with a 90% and 72% measured recovery, respectively.

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

Do not interpret serum squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCCA) concentrations as absolute evidence of the presence or the absence of malignant disease. Use serum SCCA results in conjunction with information from the clinical evaluation of the patient and other diagnostic procedures.


Elevated concentrations may also occur in cases of kidney insufficiency, skin disorders such as psoriasis, or inflammatory lung disease such as asthma.


Specimens with extremely elevated SCCA concentrations (>2200 mcg/L) have the potential to exhibit a "hook effect" and appear to have markedly lower SCCA concentrations in the absence of specimen dilution.


Some patients who have been exposed to animal antigens, either in the environment or as part of treatment or imaging procedures, may have circulating anti-animal antibodies present. These antibodies may interfere with the assay reagents to produce unreliable results.


SCCA concentration determinations are method dependent. Values obtained with different assay methods or kits may be different and cannot be used interchangeably.

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

1. Fischbach W, Rink C: SCC-Antigen: ein sensitiver und spezifischer Tumormarker fur Plattenepithelkarzinome? [SCC antigen: a sensitive and specific tumor marker for squamous cell carcinoma?]. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 1988 Feb 26;113(8):289-293. German. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1067632

2. Tas F, Aydiner A, Topuz E, Yasasever V, Karadeniz A, Saip P: Utility of the serum tumor markers: CYFRA 21.1, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), and squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCC) in squamous cell lung cancer. J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2000 Dec;19(4):477-481

3. Fischbach W, Meyer T, Barthel K: Squamous cell carcinoma antigen in the diagnosis and treatment follow-up of oral and facial squamous cell carcinoma. Cancer. 1990 Mar 15;65(6):1321-1324

4. Bolger BS, Dabbas M, Lopes A, Monaghan JM: Prognostic value of preoperative squamous cell carcinoma antigen level in patients surgically treated for cervical carcinoma. Gynecol Oncol. 1997 May;65(2):309-313

5. Gaarenstroom KN, Kenter GG, Bonfrer JM, et al: Can initial serum cyfra 21-1, SCC antigen, and TPA levels in squamous cell cervical cancer predict lymph node metastases or prognosis? Gynecol Oncol. 2000 Apr;77(1):164-70. doi: 10.1006/gyno.2000.5732

6. Liu Z, Shi H: Prognostic role of squamous cell carcinoma antigen in cervical cancer: A meta-analysis. Dis Markers. 2019 Jun 2;2019:6710352. doi: 10.1155/2019/6710352

7. Giannelli G, Marinosci F, Sgarra C, Lupo L, Dentico P, Antonaci S: Clinical role of tissue and serum levels of SCCA antigen in hepatocellular carcinoma. Int J Cancer. 2005 Sep 10;116(4):579-583. doi: 10.1002/ijc.20847

7. 8. Bae SN, Namkoong SE, Jung JK, et al: Prognostic significance of pretreatment squamous cell carcinoma antigen and carcinoembryonic antigen in squamous cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix. Gynecol Oncol. 1997 Mar;64(3):418-424

9. Beale G, Chattopadhyay D, Gray J, et al: AFP, PIVKAII, GP3, SCCA-1 and follisatin as surveillance biomarkers for hepatocellular cancer in non-alcoholic and alcoholic fatty liver disease. BMC Cancer. 2008;8:200. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-8-200

10. Duk JM, van Voorst Vader PC, ten Hoor KA, Hollema H, Doeglas HM, de Bruijn HW: Elevated levels of squamous cell carcinoma antigen in patients with a benign disease of the skin. Cancer. 1989 Oct 15;64(8):1652-1656. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19891015)64:8<1652::aid-cncr2820640816>3.0.co;2-m.

11. Watanabe Y, Yamaguchi Y, Komitsu N, et al: Elevation of serum squamous cell carcinoma antigen 2 in patients with psoriasis: associations with disease severity and response to the treatment. Br J Dermatol. 2016 Jun;174(6):1327-1336. doi: 10.1111/bjd.14426

12. Mitsuishi K, Nakamura T, Sakata Y, et al: The squamous cell carcinoma antigens as relevant biomarkers of atopic dermatitis. Clin Exp Allergy. 2005 Oct;35(10):1327-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2222.2005.02353.x

13. Ohta S, Shibata R, Nakao Y, et al: The usefulness of combined measurements of squamous cell carcinoma antigens 1 and 2 in diagnosing atopic dermatitis. Ann Clin Biochem. 2012 May;49(Pt 3):277-84. doi: 10.1258/acb.2011.011065

14. Liu Y, Cao Y, He S, Cai W. Technical and clinical performance of two methods to detect squamous cell carcinoma antigen levels for comparing pathological diagnosis coincidence rates in lung, cervical, and head and neck cancers. Clin Lab. 2020 Jul 1;66(7). doi: 10.7754/Clin.Lab.2019.190912

15. Zhou Z, Li W, Zhang F, Hu K: The value of squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCCa) to determine the lymph nodal metastasis in cervical cancer: A meta-analysis and literature review. PLoS One. 2017 Dec 11;12(12):e0186165

16. Zheng NN, Zhang RC, Yang XX, Tao YK, Zhong LS: Squamous cell carcinoma antigen is useful in the differential diagnosis of erythroderma. Int J Derm. 2019 Aug;58(8):e158-e159. doi: 10.1111/ijd.14498

Method Description
Describes how the test is performed and provides a method-specific reference

Squamous cell carcinoma antigen is measured by homogeneous automated immunofluorescent assay on the BRAHMS Kryptor Compact PLUS. The Kryptor Compact PLUS uses time resolved amplified cryptate emission (TRACE) technology based on a non-radioactive transfer of energy. This transfer occurs between two-fluorescent tracers: the donor (europium cryptate) and the acceptor (Alexa Fluor 647). In the squamous cell carcinoma antigen assay, an anti-SCC monoclonal mouse antibody is labeled with europium cryptate and an anti-SCC mouse monoclonal antibody is labeled with Alexa Fluor 647. Squamous cell carcinoma antigen is sandwiched between the two antibodies, bringing them into close proximity. When the antigen-antibody complex is excited with a nitrogen laser at 337 nm, some fluorescent energy is emitted at 620 nm and the rest is transferred to Alexa Fluor 647. This energy is then emitted as fluorescence at 647 nm. A ratio of the energy emitted at 647 nm to that emitted at 620 nm (internal reference) is calculated for each sample. Signal intensity is proportional to the number of antigen-antibody complexes formed, and therefore to antigen concentration.(Package insert: BRAHMS SCC Kryptor. Thermo Fisher Scientific BRAHMS LLC; Version RO1en-us-ruo, 2020)

PDF Report
Indicates whether the report includes an additional document with charts, images or other enriched information


Day(s) Performed
Outlines the days the test is performed. This field reflects the day that the sample must be in the testing laboratory to begin the testing process and includes any specimen preparation and processing time before the test is performed. Some tests are listed as continuously performed, which means that assays are performed multiple times during the day.


Report Available
The interval of time (receipt of sample at Mayo Clinic Laboratories to results available) taking into account standard setup days and weekends. The first day is the time that it typically takes for a result to be available. The last day is the time it might take, accounting for any necessary repeated testing.

Same day/1 day to 7 days

Specimen Retention Time
Outlines the length of time after testing that a specimen is kept in the laboratory before it is discarded

3 months

Performing Laboratory Location
Indicates the location of the laboratory that performs the test


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Test Classification
Provides information regarding the medical device classification for laboratory test kits and reagents. Tests may be classified as cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and used per manufacturer instructions, or as products that do not undergo full FDA review and approval, and are then labeled as an Analyte Specific Reagent (ASR) product.

This test was developed, and its performance characteristics determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

CPT Code Information
Provides guidance in determining the appropriate Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code(s) information for each test or profile. The listed CPT codes reflect Mayo Clinic Laboratories interpretation of CPT coding requirements. It is the responsibility of each laboratory to determine correct CPT codes to use for billing.

CPT codes are provided by the performing laboratory.


LOINC® Information
Provides guidance in determining the Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) values for the order and results codes of this test. LOINC values are provided by the performing laboratory.

Test Id Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
SCCA Squamous Cell Carcinoma Antigen, S 9679-2
Result Id Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
Applies only to results expressed in units of measure originally reported by the performing laboratory. These values do not apply to results that are converted to other units of measure.
SCCA Squamous Cell Carcinoma Antigen, S 9679-2

Test Setup Resources

Setup Files
Test setup information contains test file definition details to support order and result interfacing between Mayo Clinic Laboratories and your Laboratory Information System.

Excel | Pdf

Sample Reports
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Normal Reports | Abnormal Reports

SI Sample Reports
International System (SI) of Unit reports are provided for a limited number of tests. These reports are intended for international account use and are only available through MayoLINK accounts that have been defined to receive them.

SI Normal Reports | SI Abnormal Reports