1498 - Serum soluble transferrin receptor

Page last updated: 05 March 2019

Application Detail



Description of Medical Service

Serum soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) is a sensitive, early, quantitative marker of iron depletion in the diagnosis of iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) and anaemia of chronic disease (ACD). The introduction of iron into cells is mediated by interaction with a specific membrane receptor, the transferrin receptor (TfR) with transferrin the iron transport protein. The soluble form of TfR found in serum is a truncated monomer of the tissue receptor, circulating as a complex of transferrin and its receptor. Measurement of sTfR allows evaluation of the absolute rate of erythropoiesis and bone marrow proliferation capacity particularly when serum Fe levels are normal or greater than normal.

Description of Medical Condition

The proposed service is now an established test for the investigation of anaemia, a major public health problem globally affecting approx. a third of the world’s population. Anaemia is also common in Australia and it is estimated that fifty per cent of anaemia cases are due to iron deficiency anaemia (IDA) with women of child bearing age, pregnant women and young children at highest risk. Distinguishing between IDA and anaemia of chronic disease (ACD) can be difficult using tests currently available in Australia with public funding through the Medical Benefit Schedule (MBS). The proposed service is applicable to other anaemic conditions such as microcytic anaemia where ferritin levels are often normal and functional anaemia where tissue iron deficiency is present despite adequate iron stores.

Reason for Application

New MBS item

Medical Service Type


Previous Application Number

Not Applicable

Associated Documentation

Application Form

Application Form (Word 598 KB)
Application Form (PDF 925 KB)

PICO Confirmation


Assessment Report


Public Summary Document

Public Summary Document (Word 190 KB)
Public Summary Document (PDF 1005 KB)

Meetings for this Application


7-8 December 2017


5 October 2018


22-23 November 2018