Due to their performance enhancing properties, use of anabolic steroids (e.g. testosterone, nandrolone, etc.) is banned in elite sports. Therefore, doping control laboratories accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) screen among others for these prohibited substances in urine. It is particularly challenging to detect misuse with naturally occurring anabolic steroids such as testosterone (T), which is a popular ergogenic agent in sports and society. To screen for misuse with these compounds, drug testing laboratories monitor the urinary concentrations of endogenous steroid metabolites and their ratios, which constitute the steroid profile and compare them with reference ranges to detect unnaturally high values. However, the interpretation of the steroid profile is difficult due to large inter-individual variances, various confounding factors and different endogenous steroids marketed that influence the steroid profile in various ways. A support vector machine (SVM) algorithm was developed to statistically evaluate urinary steroid profiles composed of an extended range of steroid profile metabolites. This model makes the interpretation of the analytical data in the quest for deviating steroid profiles feasible and shows its versatility towards different kinds of misused endogenous steroids. The SVM model outperforms the current biomarkers with respect to detection sensitivity and accuracy, particularly when it is coupled to individual data as stored in the Athlete Biological Passport.
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