Liquid Chromatography - Tandem Mass Spectrometry Assay for Simultaneous Measurement of Estradiol and Estrone in Human Plasma

Robert E. Nelson, Stefan K. Grebe, Dennis J. O'Kane, Ravinder J. Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

295 Scopus citations


Background: Estradiol (E2) and estrone (E1) measurements form an integral part of the assessment of female reproductive function and have expanding roles in other fields. However, many E1 and E2 immunoassays have limited functional sensitivity, suffer from cross-reactivity, and display poor intermethod agreement. To overcome these problems, we developed a sensitive liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/ MS) assay for the simultaneous measurement of E1 and E2. Methods: After dansyl chloride derivatization, samples were separated by fast gradient chromatography and injected into a tandem mass spectrometer after formation of positive ions with atmospheric pressure chemical ionization. The limits of detection and quantification, recovery, linearity, precision, and reference intervals were determined, and performance was compared with several immunoassays. Results: Total run time per sample was 5 min. The multiple-reaction monitoring ion pairs were m/z 506/171 for 3-dansyl-estradiol and m/z 504/171 for 3-dansylestrone. The limits of detection for E1 and E2 were 12.9 pmol/L (3.5 ng/L) and 10.3 pmol/L (2.8 ng/L), respectively. Interassay imprecision (CV) was 4-20% (n = 20). The limits of quantification (functional sensitivities) for E1 and E2 were 44.1 pmol/L (11.9 ng/L) and 23.2 pmol/L (6.3 ng/L), respectively. The assay was linear to >2200 pmol/L (∼600 ng/L) for each analyte. Recoveries were 93-108% for E1 and 100-110% for E2. No cross-reactivity was observed. Method comparison with several immunoassays revealed that the latter were inaccurate and prone to interferences at low E1 and E2 concentrations. Conclusions: LC-MS/MS allows rapid, simultaneous, sensitive, and accurate quantification of E1 and E2 in human serum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-384
Number of pages12
JournalClinical chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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