High-throughput microRNAome analysis in human germ cell tumours

A J M Gillis, H J Stoop, R Hersmus, J W Oosterhuis, Y Sun, C Chen, S Guenther, J Sherlock, I Veltman, J Baeten, P J van der Spek, P de Alarcon, L H J Looijenga

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202 Citations (Scopus)


Testicular germ cell tumours (GCTs) of adolescents and adults can be subdivided into seminomas (referred to as dysgerminomas of the ovary) and non-seminomas, all referred to as type II GCTs. They originate from carcinoma in situ (CIS), being the malignant counterparts of primordial germ cells (PGCs)/gonocytes. The invasive components mimic embryogenesis, including the stem cell component embryonal carcinoma (EC), the somatic lineage teratoma (TE), and the extra-embryonic tissues yolk sac tumour (YST) and choriocarcinoma (CH). The other type is the so-called spermatocytic seminomas (SS, type III GCT), composed of neoplastic primary spermatocytes. We reported previously that the miRNAs hsa-miR 371-373 cluster is involved in overruling cellular senescence induced by oncogenic stress, allowing cells to become malignant. Here we report the first high-throughput screen of 156 microRNAs in a series of type II and III GCTs (n = 69, in duplicate) using a quantitative PCR-based approach. After normalization to allow inter-sample analysis, the technical replicates clustered together, and the previous hsa-miRNA 371-373 cluster finding was confirmed. Unsupervised cluster analysis demonstrated that the cell lines are different from the in vivo samples. The in vivo samples, both normal and malignant, clustered predominantly based on their maturation status. This parallels normal embryogenesis, rather than chromosomal anomalies in the tumours. miRNAs within a single cluster showed a similar expression pattern, implying common regulatory mechanisms. Normal testicular tissue expressed most discriminating miRNAs at a higher level than SE and SS. Moreover, differentiated non-seminomas showed overexpression of discriminating miRNAs. These results support the model that miRNAs are involved in regulating differentiation of stem cells, retained in GCTs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-28
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Carcinoma, Embryonal/genetics
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Endodermal Sinus Tumor/genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Germinoma/genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs/analysis
  • Neoplasms, Germ Cell and Embryonal/genetics
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms/genetics
  • Seminoma/genetics
  • Teratoma/genetics
  • Testicular Neoplasms/genetics


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