A comparison of salivary testosterone measurement using immunoassays and tandem mass spectrometry

Keith M. Welker, Bethany Lassetter, Cassandra M. Brandes, Smrithi Prasad, Dennis R. Koop, Pranjal H. Mehta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) are widely used to measure salivary testosterone. However, little is known about how accurately different EIAs assess testosterone, partially because estimates across various EIAs differ considerably. We compared testosterone concentrations across EIAs of three commonly used manufacturers (DRG International, Salimetrics, and IBL International) to liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Relative to EIAs from Salimetrics and IBL International, EIAs supplied by DRG International provided the closest approximation to LC-MS/MS testosterone concentrations, followed closely by EIAs from Salimetrics, and then IBL. Additionally, EIAs tended to inflate estimates of lower testosterone concentrations in women. Examining our results and comparing them to existing data revealed that testosterone EIAs had decreased linear correspondence with LC-MS/MS in comparison to cortisol EIAs. Overall, this paper provides researchers with information to better measure testosterone in their research and more accurately compare testosterone measurements across different methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-188
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Immunoassays
  • Liquid chromatography
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Measurement
  • Salivary testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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