Detection of formestane abuse by mass spectrometric techniques

Detection of formestane abuse by mass spectrometric techniques / Xavier de la Torre, Cristiana Colamonici, Davide Curcio, Daniel Jardines, Francesco Molaioni, Maria Kristina Parr, Francesco Botrè. - (Drug Testing and Analysis 6 (2014) 11-12 (November-December); p. 1133-1140)

  • PMID: 25516450
  • DOI: 10.1002/dta.1759


Formestane (4-hydroxy-androstenedione) is an aromatase inhibitor prohibited in sports and included, since 2004, in the list of prohibited substances updated yearly by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Since the endogenous production of formestane has been described, it is mandatory for the anti-doping laboratories to use isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) to establish the exogenous origin before issuing an adverse analytical finding. The described IRMS methods for formestane detection are time-consuming, requiring usually two consecutive liquid chromatographic sample purifications in order to have final extracts of adequate purity before the mass spectrometric analysis. After establishing a procedure for the determination of the origin of formestane by IRMS without the need of derivatization, and integrated in the overall analytical strategy of the laboratory for pseudo-endogenous steroids, a mass spectrometric analysis by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) of formestane metabolites was carried out in order to investigate whether other biomarkers of formestane abuse could be integrated in order to avoid time-consuming and expensive IRMS confirmations for formestane. From the metabolic studies performed, the inclusion of 3β,4α-dihydroxy-5α-androstan-17-one (4α-hydroxy-epiandosterone) in the routine GC-MS procedures has demonstrated to be diagnostic in order to reduce the number of unnecessary confirmations of the endogenous origin of formestane.

Original document


Research / Study
16 December 2014
Botrè, Francesco
Colamonici, Cristiana
Curcio, Davide
de la Torre, Xavier
Jardines, Daniel
Molaioni, Francesco
Parr, Maria Kristina
Other organisations
Sapienza Università di Roma - Sapienza University of Rome
Roma, Italia: Laboratorio Antidoping FMSI
Analytical aspects
Mass spectrometry analysis
Testing method development
Doping classes
S4. Hormone And Metabolic Modulators
Document category
Scientific article
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Pdf file
Date generated
15 March 2021
Date of last modification
18 March 2021
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