Clinical and/or biochemical hyperandrogenism is one of the diagnostic criteria for PCOS. An evaluation of the role of salivary testosterone (salT) and androstenedione (salA) for the diagnosis of PCOS was undertaken in a cross sectional study involving 65 women without PCOS and 110 women with PCOS fulfilling all 3 diagnostic Rotterdam criteria. Serum and salivary androgen measurements were determined by LC-MS/MS. salT and salA were significantly elevated in PCOS compared to controls (P < 001). No androgen marker was more predictive than another using ROC curves, but multiple logistic regression suggested salT was more predictive than free androgen index (FAI) (p < 0.01). The combination of salT or FAI identified 100% of PCOS women. PCOS women with both biochemical and clinical hyperandrogenism as opposed to clinical hyperandrogenism alone showed a metabolic phenotype (p < 0.05) and insulin resistance (p < 0.001). PCOS patients with an isolated elevated FAI showed increased insulin resistance compared to those with an isolated salT (P < 0.05). salT appeared to be at least as predictive as FAI for the diagnosis of the classical PCOS phenotype, and the combination of salT or FAI identified 100% of PCOS patients. This suggests that salT measurement by LC-MS/MS holds the promise of complementing existing laboratory tests as a means of assessing hyperandrogenemia.
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