The iron storage protein ferritin has been continuously studied for over 70years and its function as the primary iron storage protein in cells is well established. Although the intracellular functions of ferritin are for the most part well-characterized, the significance of serum (extracellular) ferritin in human biology is poorly understood. Recently, several lines of evidence have demonstrated that ferritin is a multi-functional protein with possible roles in proliferation, angiogenesis, immunosuppression, and iron delivery. In the context of cancer, ferritin is detected at higher levels in the sera of many cancer patients, and the higher levels correlate with aggressive disease and poor clinical outcome.
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