Disparity of serum transferrin receptor measurements among different assay methods

Eur J Clin Nutr. 1998 Nov;52(11):801-4. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1600650.


Objective: To highlight differences in the quantification of transferrin receptor (TfR) concentration (a reliable index of iron deficiency) between three different assay methods.

Design: Methods comparison of TfR measurements in 'elevated' and 'normal' human sera using the Ramco, Quantikine and 'Lab' assays.

Setting: The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Subjects: Pooled TfR for elevated and normal human sera obtained from the Ramco TfR assay kit.

Main outcome measures: Differences between TfR concentrations in normal and elevated samples and repeatability for each assay method and limits of agreement in TfR quantification between assay methods.

Results: The mean TfR concentrations for the elevated reference serum samples was higher than the normal reference samples within each individual assay (P < 0.001); however, measurement agreement between methods was poor.

Conclusions: Recognition of the relative differences in the values obtained from each of the assays should affect the interpretation of TfR concentration as an index of iron deficiency.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunoassay
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Quality Control
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic*
  • Receptors, Transferrin / blood*
  • Reference Standards
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic
  • Receptors, Transferrin