Objective: To assess the relationship between serum ferritin levels (a useful marker for diagnosing and staging renal cell carcinoma, RCC) and tumour status in RCC of <or=7 cm diameter.
Patients and methods: Serum ferritin levels were measured using an enzyme immunoassay in 101 patients before treatment for RCC. The largest diameter of the primary tumour was measured in the pathological specimens. The correlation between serum ferritin levels and histopathological status was assessed retrospectively in all patients, and separately in the 67 patients with tumours of <or=7 cm diameter.
Results: For the whole group, lymph node metastasis, distant metastasis, extracapsular invasion, vascular invasion and nuclear grade were significantly different (P < 0.001) between patients with normal and those with elevated ferritin levels. However, in patients with tumours of <or=7 cm, only the presence of distant metastasis was significantly different (P < 0.001) between the groups.
Conclusions: Elevated serum ferritin levels in patients with RCC of <or=7 cm may suggest the presence of distant metastasis.