Background: Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) is a recommended prognostic marker in Colorectal Cancer (CRC) for tumor diagnosis and monitoring response to therapy. High CEA levels are specifically associated with CRC progression and increased levels of the marker are expected to fall following surgical treatment. Due to its role in CRC, CEA has also been explored as a target for cancer therapy and diagnosis approaches.
Objective: The goal of this work is to highlight the role of CEA in CRC progression and liver metastasis as well as its potential as a biomarker for clinical and biotechnological approaches.
Method: A literature search of electronic medical and patent databases Pubmed, Scopus, and Science Direct, Google patents, Esp@cenet and United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), was performed. Information was collected in recent publications, including 81 articles besides 13 patents related to different CEA targeting biotechnological approaches for CRC therapy and diagnosis.
Results: CEA enhances CRC metastatic potential through many ways. CEA protects metastatic cells from death, changes the microenvironment of sinusoids, promoting the expression of adhesion molecule and malignant cell survival, besides being considered a proangiogenic molecule. Furthermore CEA has also been evaluated as a target in drug delivery systems, photodynamic therapy, radioimmunotherapy, cancer imaging and nanotechnological devices, leading to many patents concerning to development of anti-CEA antibodies or their fragments with potential to target colorectal cancer and liver metastasis cells.
Conclusion: CEA is already clinically used to monitor CRC patients, and it is a very promising targeting biomarker for multiple biotechnological applications. As far as we know this is the first report on CEA that addresses patents database.