Résumé : Biochemical markers of bone turnover have been developed over the past 20 years that are more specific for bone tissue than conventional ones such as total alkaline phosphatase and urinary hydroxyproline. They have been widely used in clinical research and in clinical trials of new therapies as secondary end points of treatment efficacy. Most of the interest has been devoted to their use in postmenopausal osteoporosis, a condition characterized by subtle modifications of bone metabolism that cannot be detected readily by conventional markers of bone turnover. Although several recent studies have suggested that biochemical markers may be used for the management of the individual patient in routine clinical practice, this has not been clearly defined and is a matter of debate. Because of the crucial importance to clarify this issue, the Société Francaise de Biologie Clinique prompted an expert committee to summarize the available data and to make recommendations. The following paper includes a revue on the biochemical and analytical aspects of the markers of bone formation and resorption and on the sources of variability such as sex, age, menstrual cycle, pregnancy and lactation, physical activity, seasonal variation and effects of diseases and treatments. We will also describe the effects of pre-analytical factors on the measurements of the different markers. Finally based on that review, we will make practical recommendations for the use of these markers in order to minimize the variability of the measurements and improve the clinical interpretation of the data.