CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Int J Sports Med 2021; 42(10): 863-878
DOI: 10.1055/a-1481-8683
Review

Current Insights into the Steroidal Module of the Athlete Biological Passport

Thomas Piper
1   Center for Preventive Doping Research – Institute of Biochemistry, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany
,
Hans Geyer
1   Center for Preventive Doping Research – Institute of Biochemistry, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany
,
Nadine Haenelt
1   Center for Preventive Doping Research – Institute of Biochemistry, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany
,
Frank Huelsemann
1   Center for Preventive Doping Research – Institute of Biochemistry, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany
,
Wilhelm Schaenzer
1   Center for Preventive Doping Research – Institute of Biochemistry, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany
,
Mario Thevis
1   Center for Preventive Doping Research – Institute of Biochemistry, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany
2   European Monitoring Center for Emerging Doping Agents (EuMoCEDA) Cologne/Bonn Germany
› Author Affiliations

Abstract

For decades, the class of anabolic androgenic steroids has represented the most frequently detected doping agents in athletes’ urine samples. Roughly 50% of all adverse analytical findings per year can be attributed to anabolic androgenic steroids, of which about 2/3 are synthetic exogenous steroids, where a qualitative analytical approach is sufficient for routine doping controls. For the remaining 1/3 of findings, caused by endogenous steroid-derived analytical test results, a more sophisticated quantitative approach is required, as their sheer presence in urine cannot be directly linked to an illicit administration. Here, the determination of urinary concentrations and concentration ratios proved to be a suitable tool to identify abnormal steroid profiles. Due to the large inter-individual variability of both concentrations and ratios, population-based thresholds demonstrated to be of limited practicability, leading to the introduction of the steroidal module of the Athlete Biological Passport. The passport enabled the generation of athlete-specific individual reference ranges for steroid profile parameters. Besides an increase in sensitivity, several other aspects like sample substitution or numerous confounding factors affecting the steroid profile are addressed by the Athlete Biological Passport-based approach. This narrative review provides a comprehensive overview on current prospects, supporting professionals in sports drug testing and steroid physiology.



Publication History

Received: 24 December 2020

Accepted: 07 April 2021

Article published online:
28 May 2021

© 2021. The Author(s). This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial-License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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