Article: article from journal or magazin.
Is carbohydrate-deficient transferrin a specific marker for alcohol abuse? A study in patients with chronic viral hepatitis.
Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research
Publication types: Journal Article ; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't - Publication Status: ppublish
Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin, a transferrin isoform, is hailed as a new marker of chronic alcohol abuse, but its specificity is, however, not unequivocally accepted. The aim of the present study was therefore to determine carbohydrate-deficient transferrin levels in patients with chronic hepatitis B and C with or without documented chronic alcohol intake. Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin was measured using a double-antibody radioimmunoassay (CDTect, Pharmacia) in serum samples from 66 patients (45 males and 21 females; mean age: 39 years) with chronic viral hepatitis B (n = 20) or C (n = 46). Diagnosis of the underlying liver disease was established by liver biopsy. Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin levels were raised in 15 patients [23%; hepatitis B (n = 2) and hepatitis C (n = 13)]. In patients with chronic hepatitis B, the carbohydrate-deficient transferrin level was raised in two abstainers. In the 46 patients with chronic hepatitis C, 10 (22%) patients with an alcohol consumption of < 60 g/day for the men and 30 g/day for the women had raised carbohydrate-deficient transferrin levels. The overall specificity of carbohydrate-deficient transferrin for chronic alcohol abuse was thus 78%, suggesting an association between elevated carbohydrate-deficient transferrin levels and the presence of chronic viral hepatitis. Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin levels were not correlated with the histological grading or staging of chronic hepatitis B and C, or with biological markers of hepatic synthesis and cellular damage. Thus, an increased carbohydrate-deficient transferrin level may occur in patients with chronic viral hepatitis in the absence of chronic alcohol abuse. This fact should be kept in mind by physicians when using this marker to detect alcohol abuse.
Adult, Alcoholism, Biological Markers, Female, Hepatitis B, Chronic, Hepatitis C, Chronic, Humans, Liver Function Tests, Male, Middle Aged, Sensitivity and Specificity, Transferrin
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