LC-MS candidate reference methods for the harmonisation of parathyroid hormone (PTH) measurement: a review of recent developments and future considerations

Clin Chem Lab Med. 2014 Sep;52(9):1251-63. doi: 10.1515/cclm-2014-0150.


The analysis of intact parathyroid hormone (PTH) (PTH1-84) is useful in the diagnosis of hyper- and hypocalcaemia, hyperparathyroidism, and in the prevention of bone mineral disorders in renal patients. The analysis is complicated by the presence of PTH fragments, which may accumulate in renal failure and cross-react in immunoassays, including the most recent third-generation immunoassays. Large variability exists between different commercially available assays. This article reviews the current literature on PTH testing, with emphasis on the use of mass spectrometry-based methods, and considers the important sources of variation which still need to be addressed prior to the development of much needed candidate reference methods for PTH analysis. Recently, mass spectrometric methods have been developed for the quantitation of PTH1-84 using surrogate tryptic peptides, but even these methods are subject to significant interferences due to the presence of newly observed modified PTH species, such as oxidised and phosphorylated PTH variants, which can accumulate in patient samples. Further work, including: 1) the use of high-resolution mass spectrometry; and 2) the analysis of PTH without prior protease digestion, is required before these approaches can be considered as reference methods against which other methods should be harmonised.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Chemical Analysis / methods*
  • Blood Chemical Analysis / trends
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood*
  • Parathyroid Hormone / chemistry
  • Parathyroid Hormone / genetics
  • Peptide Fragments / blood
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proteolysis
  • Reference Values


  • PTH protein, human
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Peptide Fragments