Screening for 2-quinolinone-derived selective androgen receptor agonists in doping control analysis

Mario Thevis, Maxie Kohler, Joachim Maurer, Nils Schlörer, Matthias Kamber, Wilhelm Schänzer
Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry: RCM 2007, 21 (21): 3477-86
Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) represent a class of emerging drugs with high potential for misuse in sports, and therefore members of this group are banned as anabolic agents by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Preventive approaches to restrict their use include early implementation of target analytes into doping control screening assays and evaluation of the mass spectrometric behavior of these drugs to allow their unequivocal identification as well as the characterization of structurally related compounds and metabolic products. Four model SARMs with the 6-alkylamino-2-quinolinone structure, including the advanced drug candidate LGD-2226, were synthesized. Fragmentation pathways after positive electrospray ionization and collision-induced dissociation were studied using an LTQ Orbitrap mass analyzer, and diagnostic product ions and common dissociation pathways were employed to establish a screening procedure targeting intact quinolinone-based SARMs as well as putative metabolic products such as dealkylated analogues. Therefore, features of a triple quadrupole mass analyzer such as multiple reaction monitoring and precursor ion scanning were utilized. Sample preparation based on commonly employed liquid-liquid extraction and subsequent liquid chromatographic/tandem mass spectrometric measurement allowed for detection limits of 0.01-0.2 ng/mL, and intra- and interday precisions between 3.2 and 8.5% and between 6.3 and 16.6%, respectively. Recoveries varied from 81 to 98%, and tests for ion suppression or enhancement effects were negative for all analytes.

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