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Urinary Steroid Profiling

AltaBioscience provides a comprehensive and cost effective urinary steroid profiling service which is UKAS accredited to ISO17025:2005. This analytical service provides measurements of steroid hormones and their metabolites in a 24-hour sample.

Working with reknown Professor Wiebke Arlt (William Withering Chair of Medicine and Director of the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, IMSR, at the Centre for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism (CEDAM) University of Birmingham), our analysis service has been developed to support those working in endocrinology and metabolomic disorders fields.

Building on the expertise within our analytical services laboratory, and utilising state-of-the-art gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) instrumentation, we offer quantitative analysis of up to 32 urinary steroid hormones and metabolites providing valuable information of hormone production. We offer a fast turnaround of results and optional clinical interpretation.

Our sample information page provides details of sample requirements and a sample submission form for you to download.

Benefits of 24hr Urine Sample

A 24-hour urine sample offers the most sensitive and accurate matrix for testing because it accounts for the circadian fluctuations of the production and metabolic activity of steroid hormones in a 24-hour period. Steroid hormones are transported by the blood to various target cells on which they have specific effects. The circulating form in the bloodstream is bound almost entirely to various plasma proteins. Urine sampling provides the best indicator of the free or unbound steroid, the biologically active form.

Investigations into hormone balances should evaluate all parent hormones including their metabolites. The use of urine also enables the measurement of unique and important metabolites that are unable to be measured in saliva or serum. Examples include estrogen metabolites which may be important for assessing the risk of estrogen sensitive cancers.

In routine clinical assessments steroids can be determined by laboratory assays such as radioimmunoassay (RIA) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). These methods are quick, simple and inexpensive; however they are associated with specificity issues, limited analytical range and experience cross reactivity and matrix effects. Importantly these techniques only measure one steroid in a single assay and so are not as informative as a full GC-MS steroid profile.

GC-MS profiling of steroids in urine has been employed for many years but is only performed routinely in a small number of specialised laboratories, as a result the analysis suffers from slow throughput. At AltaBioscience we have the expertise and resource to ensure a rapid turnaround of results to provide our customers with the speed of service required to aid diagnosis and progress research.


Steroid hormone testing is used to identify conditions related to deficiency or excess of a number of these compounds. In a medical setting this information along with the physical signs, symptoms and past medical history enable diagnosis and treatment of the condition.

  • Disorders of adrenal steroid biosynthesis which include virilisation of a new born female, hypertension and salt loss
  • 46XY disorders of sex differentiation
  • Steroid producing tumours
  • Steroid sulphatase deficiency
  • Congenital adrenal hypoplasia
  • Premature adrenarche / precocious puberty
  • Adrenal suppression
  • Polycystic Ovary syndrome
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Hypertension
  • Drug treatment
  • Glucocorticoid treatment/resistance
  • Anabolic steroid abuse
  • 5/alpha-Reductase deficiency
  • Pseudohypoaldosteronism
  • Hirsutism in women


Steroid profiling can be utilised by clinical research organisations (CROs) for pharmaceutical and biotechnology trials to add valuable information on the effects of new drugs and therapies for steroid related conditions.

Biomarkers are an important part of clinical drug development; they enable the development of safer drugs with quicker approvals. Steroids are of great interest as biomarkers for various diseases and have been used in clinical and preclinical studies of endocrine disorders. Urinary steroid profiling, can be used to measure a normal biologic process or the response of the body to therapy. It can provide information of therapeutic intervention and patient response to specific drug regimens, as well as offer further information about the mechanism of action of the drug, efficacy and safety.

If drug efficacy can be predicted quicker it can provide information on whether a drug is likely to fail thereby reducing costs in the early drug development phase.

Recent studies of steroid hormones as biomarkers include assessment of the activity of non-functioning adrenal incidentalomas, and the search for biomarkers of stress and depressive disorders.


The GC/MS technique employed by AltaBioscience is well established and has been used for many years for the quantitation of steroids. The sample preparation and analysis protocol includes the following steps:

1. Enzyme hydrolysis of steroid conjugates
2. SPE extraction of de-conjugated steroids
3. Chemical derivatisation
4. Liquid/liquid extraction
5. Separation of individual components by gas chromatography
6. Detection by mass spectrometry

For more information, please email us at info@altabioscience.com or call us on +44(0)121 414 5450 to speak to one of our experts.