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Serum ferritin is a biomarker for liver mortality in the Hemochromatosis and Iron Overload Screening Study


Background — The researchers identified no reports of long-term follow-up of participants in hemochromatosis screening programs. The researchers evaluated causes of death and survival in non-C282Y homozygous Canadian participants in the primary care-based hemochromatosis and iron overload screening (HEIRS) study.

Material and Methods — Initial screening (IS) included transferrin saturation (TS), serum ferritin (SF), HFE genotyping (C282Y, H63D), and health questionnaire responses. By definition, participants without C282Y or H63D had HFE wt/wt. The researchers linked 20,306 Canadian participants to the Ontario Death Registry for dates and causes of death 9 y after IS. The researchers computed Cox proportional hazards to identify factors with increased death risks and Kaplan-Meier curves to estimate survival of non-C282Y homozygous participants with SF ≤ 1,000 μg/L and > 1,000 μg/dL.

Results — There were 19,052 evaluable participants (IS mean age 49 y; 60% women; 93 C282Y homozygotes). There were 988 deaths. Significantly increased hazard ratios for all-cause mortality were positively associated with TS, SF, men, and C282Y homozygosity, and liver disease, diabetes, and heart failure reports. Non-C282Y homozygous participants with SF > 1,000 μg/L had lower survival than those with SF ≤ 1,000 μg/L (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions — Nine years after initial screening, non-C282Y homozygous participants and SF > 1,000 μg/L was associated with decreased survival.



Adams PC, Barton JC, Guo H, Alter D, Speechley M. Ann Hepatol. 2015; 14(3):348-53.

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