A screening method for 18 frequently measured exogenous anabolic steroids and the testosterone/epitestosterone (T/E) ratio in forensic cases has been developed and validated. The method involves a fully automated sample preparation including enzyme treatment, addition of internal standards and solid phase extraction followed by analysis by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS) using electrospray ionization with adduct formation for two compounds. Urine samples from 580 forensic cases were analyzed to determine the T/E ratio and occurrence of exogenous anabolic steroids. Extraction recoveries ranged from 77 to 95%, matrix effects from 48 to 78%, overall process efficiencies from 40 to 54% and the lower limit of identification ranged from 2 to 40 ng/mL. In the 580 urine samples analyzed from routine forensic cases, 17 (2.9%) were found positive for one or more anabolic steroids. Only seven different steroids including testosterone were found in the material, suggesting that only a small number of common steroids are likely to occur in a forensic context. The steroids were often in high concentrations (>100 ng/mL), and a combination of steroids and/or other drugs of abuse were seen in the majority of cases. The method presented serves as a fast and automated screening procedure, proving the suitability of LC-MS-MS for analyzing anabolic steroids.
Journal of Analytical Toxicology, 2014, Vol 38, Issue 9, p. 637-44