Plasma and urinary markers of oral testosterone undecanoate misuse

Shi Hua Peng, Jordi Segura, Magí Farré, Jose Carlos González, Francisco Javier Torre Fernandez De Vega

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42 Citations (Scopus)


Orally administered testosterone undecanoate (TU), an anabolic, androgenic steroid, can potentially be abused by athletes. Indirect evidence for detecting oral TU intake could be deduced from the changes in steroid profile post-administration. Direct evidence could be obtained by detection of unchanged TU in plasma. To this end, both urinary and plasma steroid profiles of six healthy male subjects given a single oral dose of 120 mg of TU were studied by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and gas chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (GC/MS/MS). The increased concentration of glucuronidated testosterone in plasma appears to be the most characteristic sign of oral TU intake. The testosterone glucuronide (TG)/nonconjugated testosterone (T) ratio, TG/17-hydroxyprogesterone (17OHP) ratio, and TG/luteinizing hormone (LH) ratio were observed to be significantly elevated above their basal levels for 10 h, 10 h, and 6 h, respectively. Urinary ratios of TG/epitestosterone glucuronide (EG) were found to be higher than the cut-off value of 6 for the period 4∼8 h post-administration, but only in three subjects. One subject failed to respond with respect to all of the above-mentioned indirect markers, as TG was not significantly increased in either plasma or urine. Unchanged TU was directly detected in plasma of all six subjects from 1∼1.5 h to 4∼6 h after oral TU intake by GC/MS/MS, providing unequivocal proof of exogenous testosterone intake. Distinct and complementary markers for detecting oral TU intake could be obtained from plasma and urine, respectively. © 2002 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-50
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


  • Doping
  • Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry
  • Oral testosterone undecanoate
  • Plasma
  • Urine


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