Test methods: anabolics

Baillieres Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Mar;14(1):111-33. doi: 10.1053/beem.2000.0058.


In the International Olympic Committee (IOC) accredited laboratories, specific methods have been developed to detect anabolic steroids in athletes' urine. The technique of choice to achieve this is gas-chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS). In order to improve the efficiency of anti-doping programmes, the laboratories have defined new analytical strategies. The final sensitivity of the analytical procedure can be improved by choosing new technologies for use in detection, such as tandem mass spectrometry (MS-MS) or high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS). A better sample preparation using immuno-affinity chromatography (IAC) is also a good tool for improving sensitivity. These techniques are suitable for the detection of synthetic anabolic steroids whose structure is not found naturally in the human body. The more and more evident use, on a large scale, of substances chemically similar to the endogenous steroids obliges both the laboratory and the sports authorities to use the steroid profile of the athlete in comparison with reference ranges from a population or with intraindividual reference values.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents / urine*
  • Chromatography, Affinity
  • Doping in Sports*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*


  • Anabolic Agents