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Evaluation of markers out of the steroid profile for the screening of testosterone misuse. Part I: transdermal administration.

  • Kotronoulas, Aristotelis1, 2
  • Gomez-Gómez, Àlex1, 3, 4, 5
  • Fabregat, Andreu1, 6
  • Segura, Jordi1, 3, 7
  • Yang, Sheng8
  • Xing, Yanyi8
  • Moutian, Wu8
  • Marcos, Josep1, 5, 9
  • Joglar, Jesús2
  • Ventura, Rosa5, 7
  • Pozo, Oscar J1, 3
  • 1 Bioanalysis Research Group. IMIM, Hospital del Mar, Doctor Aiguader 88, 08003, Barcelona, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 2 Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Modelling, Institute of Advanced Chemistry of Catalonia, Spanish Council for Scientific Research (IQAC-CSIC), Jordi Girona 18-26, 08034, Barcelona, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 3 Integrative Pharmacology and Systems Neuroscience Group, IMIM, Hospital del Mar, Doctor Aiguader 88, Barcelona, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 4 Programa De Recerca En Epidemiologia I Salut Pública, ISGlobal, Campus Mar, Doctor Aiguader 88, Barcelona, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 5 Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Doctor Aiguader 88, 08003, Barcelona, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 6 Waters Cromatografia SA, MS Applicat Lab, Barcelona, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 7 Doping Control Research Group, IMIM, Hospital del Mar, Doctor Aiguader 88, 08003, Barcelona, Spain. , (Spain)
  • 8 National Anti-Doping Laboratory, China Anti-Doping Agency, 100029, Beijing, China. , (China)
  • 9 Cerba Internacional, Pl. Ramon Llull, 7, 08203, Sabadell, Spain. , (Spain)
Published Article
Drug Testing and Analysis
Wiley (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
Nov 17, 2017
DOI: 10.1002/dta.2338
PMID: 29148228


Although the introduction by WADA of the steroid module of the athlete biological passport (ABP) marked an important step forward in the screening of testosterone (T) misuse, it still remains one of the most difficult challenges in doping control analysis. The urinary determination of alternative markers has been recently reported as a promising tool for improving the screening of T oral administration. However, their evaluation for other, commonly used, administration routes is still required. The main goal of this study is the evaluation of the potential of two groups of metabolites (cysteinyl conjugated and glucuronoconjugated) after transdermal and intramuscular administration of T. Their suitability was evaluated in individuals with both low basal (L-T/E) and medium basal (M-T/E) values of T/E. In this Part I, we evaluated the urinary excretion profile of these two groups of T metabolites after the administration of three doses of T gel to 12 volunteers (six L-T/E and six M-T/E) for three consecutive days. For this purpose, nine different concentration ratios (five cysteinyl conjugated and four glucuronoconjugated markers) were studied. Both, the intra-individual variability and the detection windows (DW) obtained by each ratio were evaluated. Cysteinyl conjugates showed a general low intra-individual variability and DWs that were shorter than any other tested marker. Despite the relatively large intra-individual variability, the DWs reached by glucuronoconjugates (2-3 days) were similar to those obtained by markers currently included in the ABP. Overall; this evaluation advises for the introduction of additional glucuronoconjugated markers in the screening of transdermal T administration.

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