Ethylglucuronide as a potential marker for alcohol-induced elevation of urinary testosterone/epitestosterone ratios

Drug Test Anal. 2009 Nov;1(11-12):526-30. doi: 10.1002/dta.110.


The potential influence of alcohol consumption on endogenous steroids has already been described in the literature. In those studies the ethanol level after ingestion was monitored using its concentration in blood, urine or saliva. Corresponding methods are not commonly used in anti-doping laboratories. Ethylglucuronide (EtG), which can be easily detected by liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), appears to be a more suitable parameter for this purpose. It is slowly excreted into the urine and indicates alcohol intake for a much longer period than blood or urinary alcohol and it is therefore routinely used for legal purposes as an alcohol consumption marker. In pharmacokinetic studies that aimed to establish calculation models after ethanol intake, the formation of EtG was observed to coincide with elevated urinary testosterone/epitestosterone (T/E) ratios. Similarly, large amounts of EtG were correlated with abnormal steroid profiles found in routine doping samples. In this pilot study, several cases with significantly elevated T/E ratios were associated with urinary EtG concentrations higher than 50 microg/mL. These findings confirmed recent intake of ethanol in considerable amounts and suggest a connection to changes in specific steroid profile parameters. Owing to the ease with which procedures to determine EtG can be carried out, and the potential for such procedures to be introduced into screening schemes, the inclusion of this marker in the final evaluation of suspicious outliers in T/E ratio longitudinal studies would seem to be very useful.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / urine*
  • Doping in Sports
  • Epitestosterone / urine*
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Glucuronates / urine*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Testosterone / urine*


  • Biomarkers
  • Glucuronates
  • ethyl glucuronide
  • Ethanol
  • Testosterone
  • Epitestosterone