Current implementation and future of the Athlete Biological Passport

Bioanalysis. 2012 Jul;4(13):1645-52. doi: 10.4155/bio.12.130.


During the last four decades, the main instrument at the disposal of anti-doping authorities has been the detection of prohibited substances in biological samples collected from athletes. However, the availability of substances identical to those produced by the human body, such as EPO, testosterone and GH, necessitated a new drug-testing paradigm. From the early 2000's, the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) was proposed as an alternative means to drug testing. Doping leaves a characteristic fingerprint on the biology of the athlete and the ABP is used to prove the act of doping from the detection of that fingerprint. Once a biomarker of doping is implemented in the ABP, it will continue to remain valid and should be able to detect the physiological changes brought on by performance-enhancing drugs that have not yet been invented. However, the sensitivity of the ABP to detect doping is limited if the physiological result of a low level of doping remains within the individual's own reference range. Recent advances in proteomics and metabolomics show the huge potential of the ABP.

MeSH terms

  • Athletes
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Doping in Sports / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Metabolomics / methods
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances / analysis*
  • Proteomics / methods
  • Reference Values
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Substance Abuse Detection / trends


  • Biomarkers
  • Performance-Enhancing Substances