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A major barrier to the diagnosis and effective treatment of solid-tumor cancers is the difficulty in detection and visualization of tumor margins in primary and metastatic disease. The use of fluorescence can augment the surgeon's ability to detect cancer and aid in its resection. Several cancer types express carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) including colorectal, pancreatic and gastric cancer. Antibodies to CEA have been developed and tagged with near-infrared fluorescent dyes. This review article surveyed the use of CEA antibodies conjugated to fluorescent probes for in vivo studies since 1990. PubMed and Google Scholar databases were queried, and 900 titles and abstracts were screened. Fifty-nine entries were identified as possibly meeting inclusion/exclusion criteria and were reviewed in full. Forty articles were included in the review and their citations were screened for additional entries. A total of 44 articles were included in the final review. The use of fluorescent anti-CEA antibodies has been shown to improve detection and resection of tumors in both murine models and clinically. The cumulative results indicate that fluorescent-conjugated anti-CEA antibodies have important potential to improve cancer diagnosis and surgery. In an emerging technology, anti-CEA fluorescent antibodies have also been successfully used for photoimmunotherapy treatment for cancer.


Michael A Turner, Thinzar M Lwin, Siamak Amirfakhri, Hiroto Nishino, Robert M Hoffman, Paul J Yazaki, Michael Bouvet. The Use of Fluorescent Anti-CEA Antibodies to Label, Resect and Treat Cancers: A Review. Biomolecules. 2021 Dec 02;11(12)

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PMID: 34944463

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