, Volume 6, Issue 7, pp 331-336

Clinical evaluation of serum ferritin to iron ratio in malignant diseases

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Serum ferritin levels were measured in 72 normal subjects and in 214 cases with various diseases by an immunoradiometric assay. In normal subjects, the serum ferritin levels were 27–230 ng/ml. Elevated serum ferritins were observed in most cases with iron excess and acute hepatitis. Markedly elevated levels were found in the majority of cases with acute leukemia, malignant lymphoma, hepatoma, and pancreatic cancer. High ferritin levels were also found in other malignant diseases. However, the range cverlapped broadly with that of nonmalignant diseases. The serum ferritin correlated significantly with serum iron in normals and in those with iron deficiency anemia. In most nonmalignant cases, the serum ferritin and iron levels distributed on a regression line obtained from levels in normals and those with iron deficiency anemia. However, 92% of the malignant cases showed a serum ferritin to iron ratio higher than that of normal subjects. The estimation of the serum ferritin to iron ratio is a useful means for screening patients or in the differential diagnosis of a suspected malignant lesion.