Send to

Choose Destination
Br J Cancer. 1993 Jul;68(1):130-6.

Expression of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and nonspecific crossreacting antigen (NCA) in gastrointestinal cancer; the correlation with degree of differentiation.

Author information

Department of Surgery II, Nagoya University School of Medicine, Japan.


In spite of its reputation as a tumour marker, little is known about the function of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA). We examined the mRNA expression of CEA and NCA in 26 gastric and 14 colorectal cancers together with adjacent morphologically normal mucosae. There was no significant difference between the CEA mRNA levels of colorectal cancer and adjacent mucosa, whereas the CEA mRNA levels were significantly elevated in gastric cancer compared with normal gastric mucosa. The expression of NCA, on the other hand, was more cancer-specific and was significantly up-regulated in both gastric and colorectal cancers compared with the corresponding normal mucosae. No correlation was found between the mRNA level and plasma CEA value. No significant up-regulation was recognised in the node positive cancer, cancer with distant metastasis, or the metastatic tissues themselves. Marked diversity in the degree of differentiation in gastric cancer tissues, however, resulted in varied expression of the CEA gene family, compared with the constantly high expression found in colorectal cancer. Further analysis revealed significant up-regulation of NCA in well and moderately differentiated gastric cancers over poorly differentiated cancers, suggesting that NCA might have roles in differentiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center