The determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) metabolites in bile can serve as a tool for assessing environmental PAH exposure in fish. Biliary PAH metabolite levels can be measured using several analytical methods, including simple fluorescence assays (fixed fluorescence detection or synchronous fluorescence spectrometry); high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection (HPLC-F); gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) after deconjugation, extraction and derivatization of the bile sample, and finally by advanced liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) methods. The method alternatives are highly different both with regard to their analytical performance towards different PAH metabolite structures as well as in general technical demands and their suitability for different monitoring strategies. In the present review, the state-of-the-art for these different analytical methods is presented and the advantages and limitations of each approach as well as aspects related to analytical quality control and inter-laboratory comparability of data and availability of certified reference materials are discussed. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.