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Addiction. 2003 Dec;98 Suppl 2:45-50.

Current status of carbohydrate deficient transferrin, total serum sialic acid, sialic acid index of apolipoprotein J and serum beta-hexosaminidase as markers for alcohol consumption.

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Department of Psychiatry, The University of Texas HSC, San Antonio, Texas 78229, USA.



The purpose of this paper is to present a brief review of the literature and to summarize the current status of four biochemical markers for alcohol consumption, carbohydrate deficient transferrin (CDT), total serum sialic acid (TSA), sialic acid index of apolipoprotein J (SIJ) and serum beta-hexosaminidase (beta-HEX).


Of these markers, CDT has been the most widely studied, is currently thought to be the most accurate predictor of alcohol consumption, is most readily available and is the only test approved by the FDA for the identification of heavy alcohol use. TSA and SIJ have the potential to be useful markers, but have only recently been discovered, are not readily available and have not yet been studied comprehensively. Finally, the relationship between serum beta-HEX and heavy alcohol consumption has been studied for about 20 years, but the test is not readily available and has not been widely accepted or used as a marker for heavy alcohol consumption.


These markers have the potential to be included in a combination of measurements to provide an accurate, more exact assessment of alcohol consumption in a variety of clinical and research settings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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