Panel Recommends Improvements in Estrogen Testing Accuracy Interview with:
Hubert W. Vesper, PhD

Director, Clinical Standardization Programs in the National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Co-author, “Measuring Estrogen Exposure and Metabolism: Workshop Recommendations on Clinical Issues”
Co-chair of the PATH Steering Committee

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Vesper: Accurate data on estrogen levels are needed to ensure appropriate and effective patient care. Research studies found high inaccuracies among different estrogen tests, especially at low estrogen levels commonly observed in postmenopausal women, men and children.

Accurate estrogen measurements can be achieved through standardization. Stakeholders should support standardization efforts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or alternative strategies to arrive at estrogen measurement methods that are accuracy-based and reliable.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Vesper: These are the first recommendations on clinical issues related to estrogen testing developed by an expert group from the clinical, research and public health communities. The panel recommendations were developed based on discussions at an estrogen measurement workshop hosted by the Endocrine Society, AACC and the Partnership for Accurate Testing of Hormones (PATH).

The recommendations inform about the importance of accurate estrogen testing and activities to improve and maintain high quality estrogen tests. Accurate estrogen tests ensure consistent patient assessment and care, reduce the need for retesting of patients, and enable the implementation of research findings in patient care.

As they select from among the current assays, clinicians and researchers should consider the purpose of the test and select the most appropriate estrogen measurement method for the situation.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Vesper: Clinicians and researchers currently use several methods to measure estrogen, including Immunoassays and mass spectrometry-based assays. Research is needed to evaluate the different approaches for validation of estrogen assay accuracy. Studies should be conducted to assess the general applicability of current methods and to obtain further information about the strengths and limitations of each approach.


L.M. Demers, PhD, et al. Measuring Estrogen Exposure and Metabolism: Workshop Recommendations on Clinical Issues. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, April 7, 2015. DOI: 10.1210/jc.2015-1040

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Hubert W. Vesper, PhD (2015). Panel Recommends Improvements in Estrogen Testing Accuracy 

Last Updated on July 16, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD