Mass spectrometry and immunoassay: how to measure steroid hormones today and tomorrow

Angela E Taylor, Brian Keevil, Ilpo T Huhtaniemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)


The recent onslaught of mass spectrometry (MS) to measurements of steroid hormones, including demands that they should be the only acceptable method, has confused clinicians and scientists who have relied for more than 40 years on a variety of immunoassay (IA) methods in steroid hormone measurements. There is little doubt that MS methods with their superior specificity will be the future method of choice in many clinical and research applications of steroid hormone measurement. However, the majority of steroid measurements are currently, and will continue to be, carried out using various types of IAs for several reasons, including their technical ease, cost and availability of commercial reagents. Speedy replacement of all IAs with MS is an unrealistic and unnecessary goal, because the availability of MS measurements is limited by cost, need of expensive equipment, technical demands and lack of commercial applications. Furthermore, IAs have multiple well-known advantages that vindicate their continuing use. The purpose of this article is to elucidate the advantages and limitations of the MS and IA techniques from two angles, i.e. promotion of MS and defence of IA. The purpose of the text is to give the reader an unbiased view about the current state and future trends of steroid analysis and to help him/her choose the correct assay method to serve his/her diagnostic and research needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)D1-12
JournalEuropean Journal of Endocrinology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015


  • Animals
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Hormones
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Steroids
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


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