Mass spectrometric description of novel oxymetholone and desoxymethyltestosterone metabolites identified in human urine and their importance for doping control

Drug Test Anal. 2012 Sep;4(9):682-91. doi: 10.1002/dta.1407. Epub 2012 Sep 3.


The metabolism of two anabolic steroids - oxymetholone and desoxymethyltestosterone - was reinvestigated to identify new targets potentially valuable for the antidoping analysis. Excretion urine samples from the laboratory reference collection were used in this study. Following fractionation of the urinary extract by means of high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), each fraction was subjected to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) analysis after trimethylsilylation. About 20 metabolites were found for desoxymethyltestosterone and more than 40 for oxymetholone, with many of them being isomeric compounds. In addition to the well-known reduced and hydroxylated metabolites, 18-nor-17,17-dimethyl and 18-nor-17-hydroxymethyl-17-methyl steroids were also identified. Having evaluated all the metabolites in terms of how long they could be detected, we suggest that 18-nor-2ξ,17β-hydroxymethyl-17α-methyl-5α-androst-13-en-3α-ol is an important marker of oxymetholone abuse. In case of desoxymethyltestosterone, better detectability could be achieved if 18-nor-17,17-dimethyl-5α-androst-13-en-2ξ,3α-diol is monitored. These novel metabolites could be detected using GC-MS/MS at least for 14 days after administration of these anabolic steroids compared to 5-7 days for previously reported metabolites.

MeSH terms

  • Anabolic Agents / metabolism
  • Anabolic Agents / urine*
  • Androgens / metabolism
  • Androgens / urine*
  • Androstenols / metabolism
  • Androstenols / urine*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Doping in Sports
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxymetholone / metabolism
  • Oxymetholone / urine*
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Androgens
  • Androstenols
  • 17-methylandrost-2-en-17-ol
  • Oxymetholone