Background: Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is a tumor marker overexpressed in adenocarcinoma that has proinflammatory properties. Recent studies have reported that CEA is positively associated with carotid atherosclerosis and metabolic syndrome. Because visceral obesity is a known risk factor for cardiometabolic diseases, CEA may also be associated with visceral adiposity. Therefore, we investigated the relationship between serum CEA concentration and visceral obesity in female Korean nonsmokers. Methods: A total of 270 Korean female nonsmokers were enrolled during their routine health check-ups. Biomarkers of metabolic risk factors were assessed along with body composition by computed tomography. Serum CEA levels were measured by using a chemiluminescence immunoassay analyzer. Results: Serum CEA levels correlated with visceral fat area, fasting glucose, and triglyceride levels after adjusting for age and BMI. The mean visceral fat area increased significantly with the increasing CEA tirtiles. In a step-wise multiple regression analysis, age (β = 0.26, p<0.01) and visceral fat area (β = 0.19, p = 0.03) were identified as explanatory variables for serum CEA level. Conclusions: This study suggested that CEA may be a mediator that links metabolic disturbance and tumorigenesis in visceral obesity. Further studies are required to better understand the clinical and pathophysiological significance of our findings.
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