Serum Ferritin in Healthy Women and Breast Cancer Patients
Serum tumor markers are important tools in managing patients with breast cancer. Currently used CA 15-3 and CEA have found their clinical application particularly in the follow-up of patients with advanced disease. Ferritin belongs to a group of other molecules of potential interest to clinicians whose concentration is also altered in sera of patients with breast tumors. In this study the serum ferritin concentration was estimated in the sera of breast cancer patients before initial surgical treatment or those with advanced disease, and compared to healthy women as control. Ferritin level was measured by an immunoradiometric assay. The aim was to asses whether the serum ferritin concentration was altered in breast cancer and whether it could be related to progression of the disease. In healthy women, a statistically significant difference (p<0.05) in ferritin concentration was observed between premenopausal and postmenopausal women. In both breast cancer groups ferritin levels were higher than in healthy premenopausal women (both p<0.05). In patients with advanced disease, ferritin was further elevated (p<0.05) compared to preoperative levels in the patient group undergoing initial surgical treatment. These results indicate that an elevated ferritin concentration in the serum of younger women could serve as an additional parameter in breast cancer diagnosis and staging.
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