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March 1976

Carcinoembryonic Antigen: Its Role in the Evaluation of Intraocular Malignant Tumors

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Molecular Biology of the Research Institute (Drs Michelson and Felberg) and the Oncology Unit of the Retina Service (Dr Shields) of the Wills Eye Hospital and Research Institute, Philadelphia.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1976;94(3):414-416. doi:10.1001/archopht.1976.03910030200005

• Plasma carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) was studied in 60 patients with histologically confirmed intraocular neoplasms including 56 malignant melanomas of the uvea and four metastatic tumors to the choroid. While 45% of the patients with primary uveal melanomas, as well as 75% of the patients with metastatic disease demonstrated elevated plasma CEA levels, both patients who exhibited metastatic lesions of entodermal origin demonstrated plasma CEA values that clearly fell into a separate, highly elevated category, consistent with metastatic disease or pancreatic or colorectal carcinoma. Thus, in the patient seen with a nonpigmented choroidal mass that may represent either a choroidal hemangioma, amelanotic melanoma, or metastatic tumor, plasma CEA levels may be useful in the differential diagnosis. If the clinician suspects a metastatic tumor from an occult primary site, highly elevated CEA levels may indicate that the lesion is of entodermal origin.