Calculation of bioavailable and free testosterone in men: A comparison of 5 published algorithms

Willem De Ronde, Yvonne T. Van Der Schouw, Huibert A P Pols, Louis J G Gooren, Majon Muller, Diederick E. Grobbee, Frank H. De Jong

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Background: Estimation of serum concentrations of free testosterone (FT) and bioavailable testosterone (bioT) by calculation is an inexpensive and uncomplicated method. We compared results obtained with 5 different algorithms. Methods: We used 5 different published algorithms [described by Sodergard et al. (bioTS and FTS), Vermeulen et al. (bioTV and FTV), Emadi-Konjin et al. (bioTE), Morris et al. (bioTM), and Ly et al. (FTL)] to estimate bioT and FT concentrations in samples obtained from 399 independently living men (ages 40-80 years) participating in a cross-sectional, single-center study. Results: Mean bioT was highest for bioTS (10.4 nmol/L) and lowest for bioT E (3.87 nmol/L). Mean FT was highest for FTS (0.41 nmol/L), followed by FTV (0.35 nmol/L), and FTL (0.29 nmol/L). For bioT concentrations, the Pearson correlation coefficient was highest for the association between bioTS and bioTV (r = 0.98) and lowest between bioTM and bioTE (r = 0.66). FTL was significantly associated with both FTS (r = 0.96) and FTV (r = 0.88). The Pearson correlation coefficient for the association between FTL and bioTM almost reached 1.0. Bland-Altman analysis showed large differences between the results of different algorithms. BioTM, bioTE, bioTV, and FT L were all significantly associated with sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) concentrations. Conclusion: Algorithms to calculate FT and bioT must be revalidated in the local setting, otherwise over- or underestimation of FT and bioT concentrations can occur. Additionally, confounding of the results by SHBG concentrations may be introduced.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1777-1784
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Chemistry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2006

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