Menke A, et al. The association of biomarkers of iron status with mortality in US adults
Elevated iron biomarkers are associated with diabetes and other cardiometabolic abnormalities in the general population. It is unclear whether they are associated with an increased risk of all-cause or cause-specific mortality. The purpose of the current analysis was to evaluate the association of ferritin and transferrin saturation levels with all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality in the general US adult population.
A prospective cohort study was conducted with 12,258 adults participating in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), a nationally representative sample of the US population. Study participants were recruited in 1988-1994 and followed through December 31, 2006 for all-cause, cardiovascular disease, and cancer mortality. The multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (95% confidence interval) for all-cause mortality comparing the fourth versus the second quartiles of ferritin and transferrin saturation were 1.09 (0.82-1.44; p-trend across quartiles = 0.92) and 1.08 (0.82-1.43; p-trend across quartiles = 0.62), respectively, for men, 1.43 (0.63-3.23; p-trend across quartiles = 0.31) and 1.48 (0.70-3.11; p-trend across quartiles = 0.60), respectively, for premenopausal women, and 1.03 (0.79-1.34; p-trend across quartiles = 0.95) and 1.17 (0.92-1.49; p-trend across quartiles = 0.63), respectively, for postmenopausal women. Quartile of ferritin and transferrin saturation also showed no association between biomarkers of iron status and mortality.
In a large nationally representative sample of US adults, within the spectrum of normal iron metabolism, ferritin and transferrin saturation were not associated with risk of mortality among people who were not taking iron supplements and did not have a baseline history of cardiovascular disease or cancer.
Available from: Duk-Hee Lee
- "It is worthwhile to compare our results to those of Menke et al.  in more detail because both studies used the dataset from NHANES III. The lack of an association with serum ferritin was also observed by Menke et al., while the inverse association between %TS and mortality found in our study differed from the lack of association that they found. "
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ABSTRACT: Even though experimental studies have suggested that iron can be involved in generating oxidative stress, epidemiologic studies on the association of markers of body iron stores with cardiovascular disease or cancer remain controversial. This study was performed to examine the association of serum ferritin and transferrin saturation (%TS) with all-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular mortality.
The study subjects were men aged 50 years or older and postmenopausal women of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1988-1994. Participants were followed-up for mortality through December 31, 2006.
Serum ferritin was not associated with all-cause, cancer, or cardiovascular mortality for either men or postmenopausal women. However, all-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular mortality were inversely associated with %TS in men. Compared with men in the lowest quintile, adjusted hazard ratios for all-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular mortality were 0.85, 0.86, 0.76, and 0.74 (p for trend < 0.01), 0.82, 0.73, 0.75, and 0.63 (p for trend < 0.01), and 0.86, 0.81, 0.72, and 0.76 (p for trend < 0.01), respectively. For postmenopausal women, inverse associations were also observed for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, but cancer mortality showed the significantly lower mortality only in the 2nd quintile of %TS compared with that of the 1st quintile.
Unlike speculation on the role of iron from experimental studies, %TS was inversely associated with all-cause, cancer and cardiovascular mortality in men and postmenopausal women. On the other hand, serum ferritin was not associated with all-cause, cancer, or cardiovascular mortality.
Available from: healtheiron.com
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ABSTRACT: Published results from a controlled clinical trial in patients with peripheral arterial disease found improved outcomes with iron (ferritin) reduction among middle-aged subjects but not the entire cohort. The mechanism of the age-specific effect was explored.
Randomization to iron reduction (phlebotomy, n = 636) or control (n = 641) stratified by prognostic variables permitted analysis of effects of age and ferritin on primary (all-cause mortality) and secondary (death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and stroke) outcomes.
Iron reduction improved outcomes in youngest age quartile patients (primary outcome hazard ratio [HR] 0.44, 95% CI 0.21-0.92, P = .028; secondary outcome HR 0.34, 95% CI 0.19-0.61, P < .001). Mean follow-up ferritin levels (MFFL) declined with increasing entry age in controls. Older age (P = .035) and higher ferritin (P < .001) at entry predicted poorer compliance with phlebotomy and rising MFFL in iron-reduction patients. Intervention produced greater ferritin reduction in younger patients. Improved outcomes with lower MFFL were found in iron-reduction patients (primary outcome HR 1.11, 95% CI 1.01-1.23, P = .028; secondary outcome HR 1.10, 95% CI 1.0-1.20, P = .044) and the entire cohort (primary outcome HR 1.11, 95% CI 1.01-1.23, P = .037). Improved outcomes occurred with MFFL below versus above the median of the entire cohort means (primary outcome HR 1.48, 95% CI 1.14-1.92, P = .003; secondary outcome HR 1.22, 95% CI 0.99-1.50, P = .067).
Lower iron burden predicted improved outcomes overall and was enhanced by phlebotomy. Controlling iron burden may improve survival and prevent or delay nonfatal myocardial infarction and stroke.
Available from: Heiko Udo Käfferlein
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ABSTRACT: We investigated airborne and internal exposure to manganese (Mn) and iron (Fe) among welders. Personal sampling of welding fumes was carried out in 241 welders during a shift. Metals were determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Mn in blood (MnB) was analyzed by graphite furnace atom absorption spectrometry. Determinants of exposure levels were estimated with multiple regression models. Respirable Mn was measured with a median of 62 (inter-quartile range (IQR) 8.4-320) μg/m(3) and correlated with Fe (r=0.92, 95% CI 0.90-0.94). Inhalable Mn was measured with similar concentrations (IQR 10-340 μg/m(3)). About 70% of the variance of Mn and Fe could be explained, mainly by the welding process. Ventilation decreased exposure to Fe and Mn significantly. Median concentrations of MnB and serum ferritin (SF) were 10.30 μg/l (IQR 8.33-13.15 μg/l) and 131 μg/l (IQR 76-240 μg/l), respectively. Few welders were presented with low iron stores, and MnB and SF were not correlated (r=0.07, 95% CI -0.05 to 0.20). Regression models revealed a significant association of the parent metal with MnB and SF, but a low fraction of variance was explained by exposure-related factors. Mn is mainly respirable in welding fumes. Airborne Mn and Fe influenced MnB and SF, respectively, in welders. This indicates an effect on the biological regulation of both metals. Mn and Fe were strongly correlated, whereas MnB and SF were not, likely due to higher iron stores among welders.
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