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17-01-2010 | Gynaecology | Article

Estrone, free testosterone levels accurate biomarkers for PCOS


Journal abstract

MedWire News: Swedish researchers have identified estrone and free testosterone levels as highly sensitive and specific endocrine biomarkers for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Since a definitive endocrine marker for PCOS is lacking, Elisabet Stener–Victorin (University of Gothenburg) and co-authors compared serum levels of sex steroids, their precursors, and main metabolites in 74 women with PCOS and 31 healthy control women.

Women with PCOS had significantly higher levels of androgens and estrogens, sex steroid precursors, and glucuronidated androgen metabolites than controls.

After adjusting for age and body mass index, only estrone and free testosterone levels were independently associated with PCOS. More specifically, the odds ratios per standard deviation (SD) increase in free estrone were 24.2, and 12.8 per SD increase in free testosterone.

The team determined that estrone and free testosterone levels above the cutoff thresholds 50.0 and 3.3 pg/ml, respectively, were able to distinguish women with PCOS from those without the condition, with high sensitivity (84 percent for both) and specificity (94 and 87 percent, respectively).

“The significance of this finding for routine clinical work remains to be shown, but it may serve as a valuable adjunct to the diagnostic criteria in scientific studies on this heterogeneous syndrome,” conclude the researchers.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Ingrid Grasmo