Evaluation of miR-371a-3p to predict viable germ cell tumor in patients with pure seminoma receiving retroperitoneal lymph node dissection

Bendu Konneh, John T. Lafin, Jeffrey Howard, Thomas Gerald, Armon Amini, Anna Savelyeva, Solomon L. Woldu, Cheryl M. Lewis, Liwei Jia, Vitaly Margulis, Nicholas Coleman, Cinzia Scarpini, A. Lindsay Frazier, Matthew J. Murray, James F Amatruda, Aditya Bagrodia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction and objective: Conventional serum tumor markers (STMs) for testicular germ cell tumors (GCTs) offer limited performance with particularly poor sensitivity in cases of minimal residual disease and pure seminoma. While growing evidence has indicated miR-371a-3p to be a superior biomarker, its utility in detecting pure seminoma at recurrence has not been extensively explored. This study's objective was to explore miR-371a-3p's utility in detecting metastatic pure seminoma at retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND). Methods: RNA was isolated from patient serum samples collected pre-RPLND. Fifteen patients were assigned to our ‘benign’ (n = 6) or ‘seminoma’ (n = 9) group based on pathological confirmation of viable seminoma. Five of the patients received chemotherapy before RPLND (PC-RPLND), and 10 were chemotherapy naïve. MiR-371a-3p expression was quantified via RT-quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The Cq values were statistically evaluated to obtain performance measurements. Results: Median relative expression of miR-371a-3p was higher in the Seminoma group than the Benign, but this difference was not statistically significant (Rq = 3705 and 241, respectively, p = 0.2844). Of the 10 chemotherapy naïve patients, nine had viable seminoma at RPLND, and seven had elevated miR-371a-3p expression. Among the five postchemotherapy (PC) patients, zero had viable GCT at RPLND, and two had elevated miR-371a-3p expression. The primary RPLND group presented 78% sensitivity and 100% specificity. Specificity in the PC-RPLND group was 60%. An optimal Rq threshold of 28.62 was determined by Youden's J statistic, yielding 78% sensitivity and 67% specificity. Receiver operating characteristic analysis provided an AUC of 0.704 (95% CI: 0.43–0.98, p = 0.1949). Despite modest performance, miR-371a-3p exhibited improved sensitivity and specificity compared with conventional STMs. Conclusions: MiR-371a-3p outperformed STMs in the primary RPLND settings. However, miR-371a-3p was not a robust predictor of pathology in the PC setting. These results suggest that pure seminoma at RPLND is a clinical context, wherein the miRNA assay may require further refinement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • germ cell tumor
  • microRNA
  • retroperitoneal lymph node dissection
  • serum biomarker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Urology


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