Polyamines are aliphatic amines with low molecular weight that are widely recognized as one of the most important cancer biomarkers for early diagnosis and treatment. The goal of the work herein presented is the development of a rapid and simple method for the quantification of free polyamines (i.e., putrescine, cadaverine, spermidine, spermine) and N-monoacetylated polyamines (i.e., N1-Acetylspermidine, N8-Acetylspermidine, and N1-Acetylspermine) in human urine. A preliminary derivatization with propyl chloroformate combined with the use of solid phase microextraction (SPME) allowed for an easy and automatable protocol involving minimal sample handling and no consumption of organic solvents. The affinity of the analytes toward five commercial SPME coatings was evaluated in univariate mode, and the best result in terms of analyte extraction was achieved using the divinylbenzene/carboxen/polydimethylsiloxane fiber. The variables affecting the performance of SPME analysis were optimized by the multivariate approach of experimental design and, in particular, using a central composite design (CCD). The optimal working conditions in terms of response values are the following: extraction temperature 40 °C, extraction time of 15 min and no addition of NaCl. Analyses were carried out by gas chromatography-triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (GC-QqQ-MS) in selected reaction monitoring (SRM) acquisition mode. The developed method was validated according to the guidelines issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The satisfactory performances reached in terms of linearity, sensitivity (LOQs between 0.01 and 0.1 μg/mL), matrix effect (68–121%), accuracy, and precision (inter-day values between −24% and +16% and in the range 3.3–28.4%, respectively) make the proposed protocol suitable to be adopted for quantification of these important biomarkers in urine samples.
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