Endogenous steroid profiling in the athlete biological passport

Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2010 Mar;39(1):59-73, viii-ix. doi: 10.1016/j.ecl.2009.11.003.


The Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) is an individual electronic document that collects data regarding a specific athlete that is useful in differentiating between natural physiologic variations of selected biomarkers and deviations caused by artificial manipulations. A subsidiary of the endocrine module of the ABP, that which here is called Athlete Steroidal Passport (ASP), collects data on markers of an altered metabolism of endogenous steroidal hormones measured in urine samples. The ASP aims to identify not only doping with anabolic-androgenic steroids, but also most indirect steroid doping strategies such as doping with estrogen receptor antagonists and aromatase inhibitors. Development of specific markers of steroid doping, use of the athlete's previous measurements to define individual limits, with the athlete becoming his or her own reference, the inclusion of heterogeneous factors such as the UDPglucuronosyltransferase B17 genotype of the athlete, the knowledge of potentially confounding effects such as heavy alcohol consumption, the development of an external quality control system to control analytical uncertainty, and finally the use of Bayesian inferential methods to evaluate the value of indirect evidence have made the ASP a valuable alternative to deter steroid doping in elite sports. The ASP can be used to target athletes for gas chromatography/combustion/ isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC/C/IRMS) testing, to withdraw temporarily the athlete from competing when an abnormality has been detected, and ultimately to lead to an antidoping infraction if that abnormality cannot be explained by a medical condition. Although the ASP has been developed primarily to ensure fairness in elite sports, its application in endocrinology for clinical purposes is straightforward in an evidence-based medicine paradigm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Anabolic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anabolic Agents / analysis*
  • Androgens / administration & dosage
  • Androgens / analysis*
  • Androstane-3,17-diol / analysis
  • Athletes*
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone / analysis
  • Doping in Sports / prevention & control*
  • Epitestosterone / analysis
  • Etiocholanolone / analysis
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Endurance / drug effects
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Factors
  • Testosterone / analysis
  • Testosterone / physiology


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Androgens
  • Biomarkers
  • Androstane-3,17-diol
  • Testosterone
  • Dehydroepiandrosterone
  • Epitestosterone
  • Etiocholanolone