Age-specific reference ranges for serum testosterone and androstenedione concentrations in women measured by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry

Robin Haring, Anke Hannemann, Ulrich John, Dor̈te Radke, Matthias Nauck, Henri Wallaschofski, Laura Owen, Jo Adaway, Brian G. Keevil, Georg Brabant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

144 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: RIA-based sex hormone measurements offer only limited precision and specificity in the lowconcentration range ofwomen.Therefore,weaimedto establish age-specific reference ranges for serum sex hormone concentrations inwomenusing mass spectrometry and quantile regression. Methods and Results: Data from 985 women aged 20-80 yr, recruited for the prospective Study of Health in Pomerania, were included in the analyses. Quantile regressions models were performed to calculate the age-specific 2.5th and 97.5th percentiles for sex hormone concentrations inwomen.Serumtotal testosterone (TT)andandrostenedione (AD) concentrationsweremeasured by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Measured concentrations of SHBG and TT were used to calculate free testosterone (free T). TT, AD, and free T concentrations showed a distinct age-related decline across 10-yr age groups (one way ANOVA P < 0.001). Sex hormone reference ranges for TT, AD, and free T were determined across each single year of age and for 10-yr age groups. Reference ranges over the whole age range of 20-80 yr were 0.35-1.97 nmol/liter for TT, 0.89-4.56 nmol/liter for AD, and 0.0025-0.0253 nmol/liter for free T. Separate reference ranges were provided for pre- and postmenopausal women as well as after inclusion of women using oral contraceptives or hormone therapy (n = 1357). Conclusion: This is the first study to establish age-specific reference ranges for liquid chromatography- tandem mass spectrometry-measured TT and AD and calculated free T concentrations based on quantile regression analyses, accurately accounting for the observed low concentration range and the strong age dependency of these sex hormones in women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-415
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes

Cite this