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J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol. 2010;2(1):1-16. doi: 10.4274/jcrpe.v2i1.1. Epub 2010 Feb 1.

Steroid assays in paediatric endocrinology.

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Clinical Biochemistry, University College London Hospitals, London, England.


Most steroid disorders of the adrenal cortex come to clinical attention in childhood and in order to investigate these problems, there are many challenges to the laboratory which need to be appreciated to a certain extent by clinicians. The analysis of sex steroids in biological fluids from neonates, over adrenarche and puberty present challenges of specificities and concentrations often in small sample sizes. Different reference ranges are also needed for interpretations. For around 40 years, quantitative assays for the steroids and their regulatory peptide hormones have been possible using immunoassay techniques. Problems are recognised and this review aims to summarise the benefits and failings of immunoassays and introduce where tandem mass spectrometry is anticipated to meet the clinical needs for steroid analysis in paediatric endocrine investigations. It is important to keep a dialogue between clinicians and the laboratory, especially when any laboratory result does not make sense in the clinical investigation.


Steroid; adrenal; adrenal tests assay

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