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Toxicological Drug Screening Using Paper Spray High-Resolution Tandem Mass Spectrometry (HR-MS/MS)

NCJ Number
Journal of Analytical Toxicology Volume: 42 Issue: 5 Dated: June 2018 Pages: 300-310
Date Published
June 2018
11 pages
Although immunoassays and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with mass spectrometry (MS) are both widely used methods for drug screening in toxicology, the current study investigated an alternative approach for rapid drug screening, i.e., paper spray MS (PS-MS).

In paper spray, the biofluid sample is spotted onto a paper substrate. Upon application of a spray solvent and an electric potential, extraction and ionization occur directly from the paper without any additional sample preparation. The project developed two paper spray high-resolution MS/MS targeted drug screening assays, using a quadrupole-orbitrap mass spectrometer, one the positive ion mode and one in the negative ion mode. In the positive ion mode, just over 130 drugs and drug metabolites were semi-quantitatively screened at sub-toxic concentrations in a single 2.5 min analysis. Limits of detection and calibration performances for each target compound are reported. The PS-MS/MS assay was tested on authentic postmortem specimens, and its screening ability and semi-quantitative performance were evaluated against independent LC-MS-MS screening and confirmation assays with good agreement. The paper spray MS/MS showed good qualitative agreement with LC-MS-MS; the true positive rate of paper spray MS/MS was 92 percent, and the true negative rate was just over 98 percent. The quantitative results between the two methods were also acceptable for a screening application; Passing-Bablok regression yielded a slope of 1.17 and a Pearson's correlation coefficient of 0.996. A separate PS-MS/MS negative ion screening method was also developed for a small panel of barbiturates and structural analogs, demonstrating its potential for acidic drug detection and screening. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: June 1, 2018