Serum transferrin receptor (sTfR) concentrations were measured in specimens from 77 patients undergoing serum ferritin determination, and the results correlated with serum ferritin, serum iron, serum total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) saturation, erythrocyte mean corpuscular volume (MCV), and mean corpuscular haemoglobin (MCH). All parameters exhibited the expected inverse correlation with sTfR; this correlation was statistically significant for all parameters except serum iron concentration. The frequency with which iron deficiency (defined as absence of stainable marrow iron) is observed in patients with particular ferritin values in this centre was determined and used to estimate the expected number of iron deficient patients in the present study. In no setting were significantly fewer sTfR levels > 3.05 μg/ml observed than expected. However, significantly greater than expected numbers of elevated sTfR values were observed in patients with serum ferritin > 220 μg/l (P = 0.002). The results suggest that the sTfR level is probably not useful as a single test for identification of iron deficiency in unselected patients.