A selective, sensitive, accurate and precise liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method for determination of raloxifene and its three glucuronides: raloxifene-6-β-glucuronide (M1), raloxifene-4'-β-glucuronide (M2), raloxifene-6,4'-diglucuronide (M3) in urine samples is presented in this paper. To our knowledge the developed analytical method is the first fully validated method capable of simultaneous determination of raloxifene and its glucuronides in real urine samples. Moreover, for the first time a method for determination of raloxifene diglucuronide in relevant biological samples was introduced. Metabolites were obtained by a bioconversion process of raloxifene to its glucuronides using the microorganism Streptomyces sp. and were used as standards for validation. Urine samples were introduced to a simple solid phase extraction prior to the analysis by LC-MS/MS. The method was linear in a wide range with high determination coefficient (r(2) > 0.997). The limits of quantification achieved were 1.01, 1.95, 2.83 and 4.69 nM for raloxifene, M1, M2 and M3, respectively. The recoveries were higher than 92.5%, the accuracy was within 100 ± 8.8% and the precision was better than 12% for all compounds. The developed method was successfully applied to the real urine samples and showed to be appropriate for use in further research of still not completely discovered raloxifene pharmacokinetics. Furthermore, the presented method could also serve for a potential application in anti-doping analysis.
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