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Purpose: This retrospective study was designed to evaluate the clinical value of changes in the serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) level after curative surgery in colorectal cancer patients. Methods: The clinical value of preoperative serum CEA and dCEA (postoperative 7-day CEA/preoperative CEA) in 115 patients with colorectal cancer, who underwent curative surgery at our Department of General Surgery from 1994 to 1997, was investigated. Results: The preoperative CEA level was significantly associated with histologic differentiation (P=0.035) and reccurence (P=0.044), but not gender, tumor size, lymph node metastases, Duke's stage, and vascular invasion. dCEA was significantly associated with lymph-node metastases (P=0.017), histologic differentiation (P=0.024), Duke's stage (P=0.021), recurrence (P=0.008), and survival rate (P=0.0379). Especially, in the abnormal preoperative CEA level (>5 ng/mL) group, if dCEA was more than 0.5, these patients had a very poor prognosis (P=0.0003). Conclusions: dCEA was associated with more clinicopathologic prognostic factors than preoperative CEA, especially with survival rate. Therefore, we expect dCEA to be a more useful tool for predicting patient outcome.