Non-Coding microRNAs as Novel Potential Tumor Markers in Testicular Cancer
Testicular cancer is an important disease with increasing incidence and a high burden of morbidity and mortality in young men worldwide. Histological examination of the testicular tissue after orchiectomy plays an important role alongside patient history, imaging, clinical presentation and laboratory parameters. Surgical procedures and chemotherapeutic treatment provide a high chance of cure in early stages, though some patients in advanced stages belonging to a poor risk group experience
... -related death. Though conventional serum-based tumor markers, including α-fetoprotein (AFP), the β-subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), are useful as prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers, unfortunately, these tumor markers only have a sensitivity of about 60%, and in pure seminoma even lower with about 20%. Therefore, the development of new tumor markers is an important and intensively ongoing issue. The analysis of epigenetic modification and non-coding RNA microRNAs (miRNAs) are carrying most promising potential as tumor markers in future. miRNAs are small RNAs secreted by testicular tumor cells and circulate and be measurable in body fluids. In recent years, miRNAs of the miR-371-373 cluster in particular have been identified as potentially superior tumor markers in testicular cancer patients. Studies showed that miR-371a-3p and miR-302/367 expression significantly differ between testicular tumors and healthy testicular tissue. Several studies including high prospective multi-center trials clearly demonstrated that these miRNAs significantly exceed the sensitivity and specificity of conventional tumor markers and may help to facilitate the diagnosis, follow-up, and early detection of recurrences in testicular cancer patients. In addition, other miRNAs such as miR-223-3p, miR-449, miR-383, miR-514a-3p, miR-199a-3p, and miR-214 will be discussed in this review. However, further studies are needed to identify the value of these novel markers in additional clinical scenarios, including the monitoring in active surveillance or after adjuvant chemotherapy, but also to show the limitations of these tumor markers. The aim of this review is to give an overview on the current knowledge regarding the relevance of non-coding miRNAs as biomarkers in testicular cancer.