Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) in serum as a possible indicator of heavy drinking in young university students

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1992 Feb;16(1):93-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.1992.tb00643.x.


Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) in serum was studied as a possible marker of heavy drinking in a sample of 187 female and 102 male 1st year university students from Finland. CDT was measured by a new radioimmunoassay (Pharmacia CDT RIA). Alcohol consumption was measured on a quantity-frequency scale. For female students CDT was 18.2 +/- 0.45 units/liter (mean +/- SEM) and for male students 13.3 +/- 0.48 units/liter. 9.6% of female students and 7.8% of male students had elevated CDT with a cut-off level of 26 units/liter for females and 20 units/liter for males. The correlation between CDT and reported alcohol consumption was 0.30 (p less than 0.001) for females and 0.25 (p = 0.014) for males. Those reporting a consumption of at least 10 kg of pure ethanol per year were considered as heavy drinkers (3.7% of females and 22.5% of males). In female students the average CDT of heavy drinkers did not differ significantly from that of social drinkers but in teetotalers CDT was significantly (p less than 0.03) lower than in female alcohol users. In male students the average CDT of heavy drinkers was higher than the average of social drinkers (p less than 0.1) and significantly higher than the average of teetotalers (p less than 0.001). In the detection of heavy drinking among male students elevated CDT had a specificity of 96.2% and a sensitivity of 21.7%.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / blood*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / blood*
  • Alcoholism / diagnosis
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Students* / statistics & numerical data
  • Temperance
  • Transferrin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Transferrin / metabolism


  • Transferrin
  • carbohydrate-deficient transferrin