Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry for analysis of steroids in clinical laboratories

Clin Biochem. 2011 Jan;44(1):77-88. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2010.07.008. Epub 2010 Jul 11.


Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry is one of the most specific techniques available in clinical laboratories. In the past, immunoassays were the primary methodology for analysis of steroids in biological samples because they are rapid and easy to perform. However, these methods were shown to suffer from the lack of specificity for measuring many of the diagnostically important steroids. LC-MS/MS overcomes many of the limitations of immunoassays, enhances diagnostic utility of the testing, and expands diagnostic capabilities in endocrinology. In addition to the superior quality of the measurements, LC-MS/MS allows high throughput testing using small sample volume with minimal sample preparation, and frees the laboratory from dependence on suppliers of assay specific reagents. LC-MS/MS is being widely employed for routine measurement of steroids, and the methodology plays an important role in the standardization and harmonization of measurements among clinical laboratories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgens / analysis
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods*
  • Estrogens / analysis
  • Humans
  • Steroids / analysis*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*


  • Androgens
  • Estrogens
  • Steroids