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Serial carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) levels were measured in 43 patients following incomplete excision of colorectal cancer. Twenty-seven patients received chemotherapy. In the majority the subsequent elevation of CEA could be related to clinical progression, but some patients receiving chemotherapy may have a suppressed rate of CEA rise and may have a more prolonged survival.
The clinical application of serial CEA estimations remains of dubious value. However, one area which may be worthy of study is to determine whether suppression of the CEA slope by chemotherapy is attended by clinical control and an improved survival.