Estradiol quantitation is useful in the clinical assessment of diseases like hypogonadism, hirsutism, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), amenorrhea, ovarian tumors and for monitoring response in women receiving aromatase inhibitor therapy. Physiologically relevant serum estradiol concentration in women can span across four orders of magnitude. For example, in women undergoing ovulation induction serum estradiol concentration can range between 250-2000 pg/mL whereas aromatase inhibitor therapy can decrease serum estradiol concentration to <5 pg/mL. While high-through-put automated un-extracted (direct) immunoassays accommodate the growing clinical need for estradiol quantitation, are amenable to implementation by most hospital clinical laboratories, they display a significant loss of specificity and accuracy at low concentrations. Most clinical scenarios (example: estradiol monitoring in fertility treatments) place a modest demand on accuracy and precision of the assay in use but accurate quantitation of estradiol in certain clinical scenarios (pediatric and male patients and for monitoring aromatase inhibitor therapy) can be challenging using currently available immunoassays since the direct immunoassays are prone to issues with sub-optimal accuracy and specificity due to cross reactivity with estradiol conjugates and metabolites. In this review we discuss the bases for the evolution of estradiol assays from extracted (indirect) radio-immunoassays to direct immunoassays to liquid-chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) based assays, discuss technical factors relevant for development and optimization of a LC-MS/MS assay for estradiol and present the details and performance characteristics of an ultra-sensitive LC-MS/MS estradiol assay with a limit of quantitation of 0.2 pg/mL.
- High-sensitivity estradiol assay
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Molecular Biology
- Organic Chemistry