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Application of miRNAs in the diagnosis and monitoring of testicular germ cell tumours

Kristian Almstrup, João Lobo, Nina Mørup, Gazanfer Belge, Ewa Rajpert-De Meyts, Leendert H J Looijenga, Klaus-Peter Dieckmann
Nature Reviews. Urology 2020, 17 (4): 201-213
Testicular germ cell tumours (TGCTs) are the most frequent cancer type in young men and originate from the common precursor germ cell neoplasia in situ (GCNIS). For decades, clinical management of patients with TGCT has relied on classic serum tumour markers: α-fetoprotein, human chorionic gonadotropin subunit-β and lactate dehydrogenase. In the past 10 years, microRNAs have been shown to outperform classic serum tumour markers in the diagnosis of primary tumours and in follow-up monitoring and prediction of relapse. miR-371a-3p is the most consistent marker and exhibits >90% diagnostic sensitivity and specificity in TGCT. However, miR-371a-3p cannot be used to diagnose GCNIS or mature teratoma. Future efforts must technically standardize the microRNA-based methods internationally and introduce miR-371a-3p as a molecular liquid biopsy-based marker for TGCTs in the clinic.

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