Validation of liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method for analysis of urinary conjugated metanephrine and normetanephrine for screening of pheochromocytoma

Robert L. Taylor, Ravinder J. Singh

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74 Scopus citations


Background: Metanephrines are biochemical markers for tumors of the adrenal medulla (e.g., pheochromocytoma) and other tumors derived from neural crest cells (e.g., paragangliomas and neuroblastomas). We describe a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method for the measurement of urinary conjugated metanephrines. Methods: We added 250 ng of d3-metanephrine (d3-MN) and 500 ng of d3-normetanephrine (d3-NMN) to 1 mL of urine samples as stable isotope internal standards. The samples were then acidified, hydrolyzed for 20 min in a 100 °C water bath, neutralized, and prepared by solid-phase extraction. The methanol eluates were analyzed by LC-MS/MS in the selected-reaction-monitoring mode after separation on a reversed-phase amide C16 column. Results: Multiple calibration curves for the analysis of urine MN and NMN exhibited consistent linearity and reproducibility in the range of 10-5000 μg/L. Interassay CVs were 5.7-8.6% at mean concentrations of 90-4854 μg/L for MN and NMN. The detection limit was 10 μg/L. Recovery of MN and NMN (144-2300 μg/L) added to urine was 91-114%. The regression equation for the LC-MS/MS (x) and colorimetric (y) methods was: y = 0.81x - 0.006 (r = 0.822; n = 110). The equation for the HPLC (x) and LC-MS/MS (y) methods was: y = 1.09x + 0.05 (r = 0.998; n = 40). Conclusions: The sensitivity and specificity of the MS/MS method for urinary conjugated metanephrines offer advantages over colorimetric, immunoassay, HPLC, and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry methods because of elimination of drug interferences, high throughput, and short chromatographic run time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-539
Number of pages7
JournalClinical chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 7 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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