Epidemiological investigation of the UGT2B17 polymorphism in doping control urine samples and its correlation to T/E ratios

Drug Test Anal. 2011 Oct;3(10):645-51. doi: 10.1002/dta.332. Epub 2011 Sep 19.


The deletion polymorphism of the enzyme UGT2B17 is known to correlate with the level of the testosterone to epitestosterone (T/E) ratio in urine specimen. Due to the importance of the T/E ratio to detect testosterone abuse in doping analysis, a PCR-ELISA system (Genotype® UGT test, AmplexDiagnostics) was established to identify the UGT2B17 phenotype in urine samples. Epidemiological investigations in a set of 674 routine doping controls (in- and out-of-competition) resulted in 22.8% homozygote gene-deleted and 74.5% UGT2B17-positive athletes. The validated test system has shown to be robust and sensitive: in only 18 cases (2.7%) isolation of cell material from urine failed. Following hydrolysis of glucuronidated conjugates, steroids were analyzed as bis-TMS derivatives by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), for example, testosterone (T) and epitestosterone (E). Additionally, isotope ration mass spectrometry (IRMS) analysis and luteinizing hormone (LH) measurement were applied. Mean T/E ratios significantly correlated with the UGT2B17 phenotype (del: T/E 0.9; pos: 1.7), however the values did not differ as distinctive as reported in previous studies. Additionally, the T/E ratios in the gene-deleted group did not show a normal curve of distribution (median of T/E 0.5). Obviously, beside the UGT2B17 deletion further influences have to be taken into account, for example, polymorphisms or induction of other metabolizing enzymes. Our results indicate that the UGT2B17 polymorphism might be insufficient when utilized solely as a crucial parameter for individual interpretation of T/E in urine. Nevertheless, the detection of the UGT2B17-gene deletion in urine samples would provide additional information important for gathering evidence in analysis of steroids in doping control.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Doping in Sports*
  • Epitestosterone / urine*
  • Female
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genetic Testing / methods*
  • Genotype
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minor Histocompatibility Antigens
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Testosterone / urine*


  • Minor Histocompatibility Antigens
  • Testosterone
  • Epitestosterone
  • Glucuronosyltransferase
  • UGT2B17 protein, human