The role of serum transferrin receptor in the diagnosis of iron deficiency.Haematologica. 1998 Nov; 83(11):963-6.H
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE
Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) is often associated with inflammatory disorders. The most conventional parameters of iron metabolism are therefore affected, making the evaluation of iron status difficult. Serum transferrin receptor (sTfR) levels are raised in iron deficiency but are not influenced by inflammatory changes. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of sTfR in differentiating IDA with inflammatory features.
DESIGN AND METHODS
A diagnostic study of sTfR measured by immunoassay was carried out in IDA and anemia of chronic disorders (ACD). The cut-off points of sTfR and the ratio of sTfR/serum ferritin, which were obtained after comparing IDA and ACD, were applied to a group of 64 patients with mixed iron patterns (MIX) (16 with ACD and 48 with IDA).
The best cut-off point of sTfR between IDA and ACD was 4.7 mg/L. Applying this cut-off to the MIX group, an efficiency of 87% was obtained (sensitivity 92% and specificity 81%). This level of sTfR correctly classified 53 out of 64 cases of the MIX group (83%). Using the ratio of sTfRx 100/serum ferritin, the best cut-off point was 8 (efficiency 100%), which correctly classified 62 out of 64 cases of the MIX group (97%).
INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS
This study demonstrates that sTfR in conjunction with other iron parameters is very useful in iron deficiency evaluation, especially in hospital practice. Iron treatment should be considered in patients with mixed patterns of iron status, in which the diagnosis of IDA versus ACD is difficult, when the levels of sTfR exceed the cut-off point.