Evaluating bioanalytical capabilities of paper spray ionization for abiraterone drug quantification in patient plasma

Atul Bhatnagar, Matthew J. McKay, Malmaruha Arasaratnam, Megan Crumbaker, Howard Gurney, Mark P. Molloy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Paper spray ionization (PSI) is a direct, fast and low‐cost ambient ionization technique which may have clinical utility for qualitative and quantitative analysis of therapeutic drugs and metabolites from patient specimens. We developed and validated a PSI‐mass spectrometry (PSI‐MS/MS) method according to the US‐FDA guidelines for bioanalytical studies to measure the prostate cancer drug abiraterone directly from patient plasma. The established linearity range was 3.1 – 156.8 ng/mL with a precision (%CV) and an accuracy (%) range of 0.5 – 10.7 and 93.5 – 103.2, respectively. The mean internal standard normalized matrix factor for abiraterone was just below 1 with highest %CV of 10.2 at the low level quality control. In benchmarking the performance of this assay against a published LC‐MS/MS assay we showed they were mostly equivalent, with the exception of accuracy with clinical samples. We found the quantitative values observed for abiraterone measured directly from patient plasma using PSI‐MS/MS showed positive bias. Upon investigation we concluded the increased values were due to summed quantitation of isomeric abiraterone conjugates and metabolites which are separable by LC‐MS/MS, but not with the current PSI‐MS/MS configuration. Despite demonstrating the utility of PSI‐MS/MS for rapid bioanalysis, this study also highlighted a limitation encountered with the direct analysis of abiraterone in clinical samples.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere4584
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Mass Spectrometry
Issue number10
Early online date31 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 May 2020


  • paper spray ionization
  • Abiraterone
  • Prostate cancer
  • Bioanalysis
  • high –resolution mass spectrometry
  • LC‐MS/MS
  • Metabolomics
  • high-resolution mass spectrometry
  • bioanalysis
  • LC-MS/MS
  • prostate cancer
  • abiraterone
  • metabolomics

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