Mørup N. et al.
Circulating miRNAs secreted by testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) show great potential as novel non-invasive biomarkers for diagnosis of TGCT. Seminal plasma (SP) represents a biofluid closer to the primary site. Here, we investigate whether small RNAs in SP can be used to diagnose men with TGCTs or the precursor lesions, germ cell neoplasia in situ (GCNIS). Small RNAs isolated from SP from men with TGCTs (n = 18), GCNIS-only (n = 5), and controls (n = 25) were sequenced. SP from men with TGCT/GCNIS (n = 37) and controls (n = 22) were used for validation by RT-qPCR. In general, piRNAs were found at lower levels in SP from men with TGCTs. Ten small RNAs were found at significantly (q-value < 0.05) different levels in SP from men with TGCT/GCNIS than controls. Random forests classification identified sets of small RNAs that could detect either TGCT/GCNIS or GCNIS-only with an area under the curve of 0.98 and 1 in ROC analyses, respectively. RT-qPCR validated hsa-miR-6782-5p to be present at 2.3-fold lower levels (p = 0.02) in the SP from men with TGCTs compared with controls. Small RNAs in SP show potential as novel biomarkers for diagnosing men with TGCT/GCNIS but validation in larger cohorts is needed.