Fifty fresh-frozen normal male sera containing tritiated estrone sulfate (ES) and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DS) were extracted with ethanol after ether extraction of unconjugated steroids. Washed extracts were defatted and chromatographed on polyamide-coated plates by reversed phase paired ion TLC. Plates were scanned for radioactivity, and ES peaks were cut, eluted and assayed by direct RIA with a commercially available antiserum. Mean ES values were 445 +/- 209 pg/mL (SD), in agreement with the three lowest of the seven laboratories which had previously reported normal male ES values. No differences were observed in ES values when samples were rechromatographed prior to assay, or when up to 4 micrograms/mL unlabeled DS was added to serum before extraction. These data confirm the absence of interference by DS in the current study and suggest that previously reported high (716-1194 pg/mL) mean normal male ES values reflect DS interference. The present study also demonstrates the the stability of ES in sera stored frozen at -40 C for an average of 17 years (mean: 406 +/- 258 pg/mL; [SD]; n = 41).