|Values are valid only on day of printing.|
Chronic alcoholism causes a transient change in the glycosylation pattern of transferrin where the relative amounts of disialo- and asialotransferrin (carbohydrate deficient transferrin: CDT) are increased over the amount of normally glycosylated tetrasialotransferrin. This recognition led to the use of CDT in serum as marker for chronic alcohol abuse.
CDT typically normalizes within several weeks of abstinence of alcohol use. However, it is important to recognize that there are other causes of abnormal CDT levels, which include congenital disorders of glycosylation and other genetic and non-genetic causes of acute or chronic liver disease.
CDT testing alone is not recommended for general screening for alcoholism; however, when combined with other methods (ie, gamma-glutamyltransferase, mean corpuscular volume, patient self-reporting, ethylglucuronide analysis) clinicians can expect to identify the majority of patients who consume a large amount of alcohol.
An indicator of chronic alcohol abuse
Patients with chronic alcoholism may develop abnormally glycosylated transferrin isoforms (ie, carbohydrate deficient transferring: CDT >0.12). CDT results from 0.11 to 0.12 are considered indeterminate.
Patients with liver disease due to genetic or nongenetic causes may also have abnormal results.
This assay has not been fully validated for the investigation of alcoholism.
Carbohydrate deficient transferrin (CDT) testing alone is not recommended for general screening for alcoholism. Analysis of more than one biomarker is recommended to avoid misinterpretation of results.
The abnormal transferrin isoform pattern in patients with chronic alcoholism is similar to that observed in congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDGs). However, unlike most patients with CDG, the relative amount of mono-glycosylated transferrin is much lower. Other conditions such as hereditary fructose intolerance, galactosemia, and liver disease may result in increased levels of CDT. In addition, pre-analytical variables such as bacterial contamination may cause falsely elevated CDT values. Several factors may cause variability in CDT analysis, including: ethnicity, gender, pregnancy, body mass index, smoking, blood pressure, iron metabolism, drug interactions, chronic medical illness.
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