Impact of nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors on steroid profile in a Chinese population

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Steroid profiling was introduced to determine the endogenous steroid misuse in sports. Thus, screening for the exogenous use of these prohibited substances can be established by monitoring a range of endogenous steroids, which constitute the steroid profile and evaluate their concentrations and ratios against reference values. The steroid profiling is currently based on population statistics. As large interindividual variations exist, athlete biological passport (ABP) analysis is ongoing. This study aimed to identify new biomarker(s) for aromatase inhibitor detection in sports using statistical analysis and adapt the model into ABP analysis.

Forty-one Chinese nonathlete volunteers (21 males and 20 females) were administered 3 nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors (aminoglutethimide, letrozole, and anastrozole) independently. Statistical analysis was performed on 16 steroid profile parameters.

After administration, the concentrations of endogenous androgen biomarkers including testosterone (T), epitestosterone, androsterone (AN), etiocholanolone (ETIO), 5α-diol, 5β-diol, and dehydroepiandrosterone were increased, while the level of estrogen was decreased. These biomarkers returned to the baselines levels within 1 month. In females, the concentrations of endogenous biomarkers were affected by nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitors, without a common trend. Three new endogenous biomarkers (AN/estrone, ETIO/estrone, and T/estrone) elevated significantly after treatment. The 3 new models were more sensitive than the World Anti-Doping Agency ratio biomarkers. They were also effective in exponentially weighted moving average chart analysis.

Verification experiment demonstrated that the biomarker T/estrone was valid in judging the steroidal aromatase inhibitor abuse. The screening of these new endogenous biomarkers can provide additional parameters to support ABP monitoring and specific information regarding the administered steroids.

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