Significance of elevated cobalamin (vitamin B12) levels in blood

Clin Biochem. 2003 Nov;36(8):585-90. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2003.08.004.


Elevated levels of serum cobalamin may be a sign of a serious, even life-threatening, disease. Hematologic disorders like chronic myelogeneous leukemia, promyelocytic leukemia, polycythemia vera and also the hypereosinophilic syndrome can result in elevated levels of cobalamin. Not surprisingly, a rise of the cobalamin concentration in serum is one of the diagnostic criteria for the latter two diseases. The increase in circulating cobalamin levels is predominantly caused by enhanced production of haptocorrin. Several liver diseases like acute hepatitis, cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and metastatic liver disease can also be accompanied by an increase in circulating cobalamin. This phenomenon is predominantly caused by cobalamin release during hepatic cytolysis and/or decreased cobalamin clearance by the affected liver. Altogether it can be concluded that an observed elevation of cobalamin in blood merits the a full diagnostic work up to assess the presence of disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Hematologic Diseases / blood
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption / physiology
  • Vitamin B 12 / blood*
  • Vitamin B 12 / chemistry


  • Vitamin B 12