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Transferrin Saturation Measurement

Transferrin saturation reflects the ratio of serum iron to total iron-binding capacity. This value tells you how much of the transferrin that is available to bind iron serum is actually bound to iron (e.g. 30% means that 30% of transferrin iron-binding capacity is taken up by iron). When the capacity of transferrin is exceeded, non-transferrin-bound iron (NTBI) is produced (Figure).1-5

Figure. Formation of NTBI at higher transferrin saturation levels.

Assessment of transferrin saturation levels has received some interest in recent years. Further evaluation of these techniques is required to validate the methodology and to describe the relationship with patient prognosis.5

Learn about measuring transferrin saturation >


  1. Cabantchik ZI, et al. Best Pract Res Clin Haematol. 2005;18:277-87.
  2. Mazza JJ. Manual of Clinical Hematology. Third edition. 2002.
  3. Loreal O, et al. J of Hpatol. 2000;32:727-733.
  4. Cappellini AD, et al. Ann Rev Med. 2009;60:25-38.
  5. Lee JW, et al. Blood. 2010;116:2448-54.

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