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Dorgan JF, Fears TR, McMahon RP, Aronson Friedman L, Patterson BH, Greenhut SF
Measurement of steroid sex hormones in serum: a comparison of radioimmunoassay and mass spectrometry
Steroids (2002) 67:151-8.
Concern has been raised about the adequacy of radioimmunoassays to measure steroid sex hormones in population studies. We compared steroid sex hormone measurements in serum by radioimmunoassay with mass spectrometry. Four male and four female serum pools with known relative concentrations of steroid sex hormones were measured multiple times by both methods. Because measurements are expected to increase linearly with concentration for each sex, we examined whether the linear regressions of hormone measurements on concentration were the same for radioimmunoassay and mass spectrometry. Estradiol, estrone, androstenedione, testosterone, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate were measured in female pools; testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, androstenedione, and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate were measured in male pools. Regression slopes for radioimmunoassay and mass spectrometry measurements were comparable for all hormones except androstenedione, which had a steeper slope when measured by mass spectrometry (P < or = 0.02). Intercepts for radioimmunoassay and mass spectrometry were similar and close to zero for estradiol, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, and in male samples, testosterone. For testosterone in female samples, estrone, and dihydrotestosterone, radioimmunoassay and mass spectrometry intercepts differed significantly. Standard deviations of individual measurements by radioimmunoassay and mass spectrometry differed by hormone and serum concentration; neither method consistently measured hormone concentrations with less variability. Our findings suggest that although absolute concentrations may differ for some hormones, radioimmunoassay and mass spectrometry can yield similar estimates of between subject differences in serum concentrations of most steroid sex hormones commonly measured in population studies. Relative power of studies using radioimmunoassay and mass spectrometry will depend on the hormones measured and their serum concentrations.
Publication Date: 2002-03-01.
Last updated on Friday, June 05, 2020