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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Nov 1;103(11):3965-3973. doi: 10.1210/jc.2018-01041.

Aldosterone LC-MS/MS Assay-Specific Threshold Values in Screening and Confirmatory Testing for Primary Aldosteronism.

Author information

Endocrine Hypertension Research Centre, University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, Greenslopes and Princess Alexandra Hospitals, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Attoquant Diagnostics, Vienna, Austria.
Department of Chemical Pathology, Pathology Queensland, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Faculty of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.



Current threshold values for primary aldosteronism (PA) diagnostic testing are based on measuring aldosterone (PAC) using immunoassays. Quantification of PAC by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) yields lower values.


To compare aldosterone measurement by radioimmunoassay (RIA) with LC-MS/MS and evaluate performances of proposed LC-MS/MS-specific cutoffs for PA screening and confirmatory testing.

Patients and Intervention:

Forty-one patients underwent aldosterone/renin ratio (ARR) testing to screen for, and fludrocortisone suppression testing (FST) to confirm or exclude, PA. Renin (DRC) was measured by chemiluminescent immunoassay.


Median serum PACLC-MS/MS was 27.8% lower (P < 0.05) than plasma PACRIA in 164 pairs of FST samples. A positive correlation (Spearman coefficient, 0.894, P < 0.01; Pearson r coefficient, 0.861, P < 0.01) was observed between the two assays. Thirty-seven patients showed consistent FST diagnoses (29 positive, 8 negative), whereas four showed inconsistent FSTs by the two assays. Good agreement (κ coefficient, 0.736; P < 0.01) was observed between the current FST diagnostic PACRIA cutoff of 165 pmol/L and the proposed PACLC-MS/MS cutoff of 133 pmol/L. Among 37 patients with consistent FST results, no differences were observed in sensitivity (89.7% vs 93.1%) or specificity (87.5% vs 87.5%) for PA screening between the current ARR cutoff of 70 pmol/mU (PACRIA/DRC) and the proposed cutoff of 55 pmol/mU (PACLC-MS/MS/DRC).


Adjustment of the current cutoffs for PA diagnostic testing is necessary if PAC is measured by LC-MS/MS. Our preliminary results suggest that the proposed LC-MS/MS cutoffs for ARR and FST perform as well as current RIA cutoffs.


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