Serum ferritin and serum carcinogenic embryonic antigen (CEA) levels in 153 patients (male: 112, female: 41) with primary lung cancer were simultaneously measured and compared with the histological type, clinical stage and clinical course. No correlation between serum ferritin and CEA levels was found. A higher percentage of positive test results for both serum ferritin and CEA was associated with advanced stages and metastasis in other organs. From the point of view of histological classification, high ferritin levels were mainly found in the patients with small-cell types of cancer. In contrast, high CEA levels were found in patients with adenocarcinoma. Therefore, the measurement of serum ferritin was not efficient as a screening test for lung cancer. Serum ferritin levels were, however, correlated with the efficacy of therapy and the clinical course.