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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

CEA immunoreactivity in metastatic malignant melanoma.

Immunohistochemical techniques may aid in the diagnosis of poorly differentiated metastatic tumors. Anti-carcinoembryonic antigen ( CEA) antibodies have been used in the identification of epithelial neoplasms. However, recent unpublished data report CEA reactivity in malignant melanoma and melanoma cell lines. We studied 28 cases of known metastatic malignant melanoma with an antibody panel for CEA (polyclonal and monoclonal), AE1:3, S-100, and HMB-45. Reactivity for CEA (polyclonal) was seen in 15 of 28 (53%) cases: nine exhibited strong diffuse positivity, five moderate focal positivity, and one globular cytoplasmic staining. Focal reactivity for cytokeratin (AE1:3) was seen in three of 28 cases. HMB-45 staining was present in 23 of 28 (82%, including strong positivity in the cytokeratin-reactive cases). Staining for S-100 protein was strong in all cases. No staining was seen for CEA (monoclonal). CEA immunoreactivity is seen in a significant number of metastatic malignant melanoma cases. This may be due to CEA expression by tumor cells, or crossreactivity of the polyclonal antibody with substances such as nonspecific crossreacting antigen (NCA) that share antigenic sites with CEA. These findings emphasize the need for care in interpreting immunohistochemical results. Immunohistochemical evaluation of CEA should not be made alone, but only as part of a diagnostic antibody panel.[1]


  1. CEA immunoreactivity in metastatic malignant melanoma. Selby, W.L., Nance, K.V., Park, H.K. Mod. Pathol. (1992) [Pubmed]
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