Analysis of Cerebrospinal Fluid and Serum CEA Concentration in Non-neoplastic Diseases

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Background. Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is important for the diagnosis of meningeal carcinomatosis. Its relationship with CSF and serum in non-neoplastic diseases may be beneficial for earlier diagnosis and treatment.


CSF samples were obtained from 346 nonneoplastic inpatients. Among them, 238 pairs of CSF and serum were obtained and compared. The 97.5th percentile and maximum value of CSF CEA were obtained.


The 97.5th percentile and maximum value of CSF CEA concentration for overall participants were 0.529 and 2.340 μg/L, respectively. The ratio of CEA level (CSF/serum) was from 0.017 to 1. CSF CEA concentration was equal to the simultaneous serum concentration only in 0.84% (2/238) and no higher than simultaneous serum CEA concentration was found.


The value determined in this study of CSF CEA is significantly lower than that usually used in clinical practice. CSF CEA concentration higher than the simultaneous serum CEA concentration suggests abnormal intrathecal CEA secretion.

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