MicroRNA (miR)371a-3p was suggested to be a sensitive and specific new serum biomarker of germ cell tumours (GCTs); however, its clinical usefulness remains unproven.
In 312 consecutive cases with various testicular diseases, serum levels of miR371a-3p were measured. Measurement results became available only after completion of treatment. Five patients with testicular seminoma were selected for review because of unanticipated clinical courses.
In each two patients, elevated miR levels heralded undetected primary testicular GCT and metastases despite inconclusive radiological findings. In one case, a normal miR371a-3p level correctly pointed to the absence of metastases contrary to clinical assessment. In all cases, knowledge about the miR371a-3p levels would have altered the clinical management.
These cases highlight the exceptional usefulness of the new GCT biomarker. In contrast to classical markers, miR371a-3p can identify primary testicular GCT. The marker can aid in clinical decision making in cases with ambiguous clinical findings.