Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry - Application in the clinical laboratory.
In: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Vol. 41, No. 2: pp. 117-126
This review provides a concise survey of liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LCTMS) as an emerging technology in clinical chemistry. The combination of two mass spectrometers with an interposed collision cell characterizes LCTMS as an analytical technology on its own and not just as a more specific detector for HPLC compared with conventional techniques. In LCTMS, liquid chromatography is rather used for sample preparation but not for complete resolution of compounds of interest. The instrument technology of LCTMS is complex and comparatively expensive; however, in routine use, methods are far more rugged compared to conventional chromatographic techniques and enable highthroughput analyses with very limited manual handling steps. Moreover, compared to both gas chromatographymass spectrometry (GCMS) and conventional HPLC techniques, LCTMS is substantially more versatile with respect to the spectrum of analyzable compounds. For these reasons it is likely that LCTMS will gain far more widespread use in the clinical laboratory than HPLC and GCMS ever did. In this article, the key features of LCTMS are described, method development is explained, typical fields of application are discussed, and personal experiences are related.