Differential expression of preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma (PRAME) in testicular germ cell tumors – A comparative study with SOX17

Yan Zhou, Aimi Rothrock, Paari Murugan, Faqian Li, Lihong Bu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The accurate identification of different components in testicular germ cell tumors (GCT) is essential for tailoring treatment and informing the clinical prognosis. PRAME (preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma), a member in the family of cancer testis antigens, plays critical roles in regulating pluripotency and suppressing somatic/germ cell differentiation in seminomas (SEM). To investigate the potential diagnostic value of PRAME in testicular GCT, here we comparatively examined the expression patterns of PRAME and SOX17 by immunohistochemistry in both pure and mixed GCT. Tissue microarrays constructed from 66 pure or mixed GCT were examined, including 25 seminomas (13 pure and 12 mixed), 35 embryonal carcinomas (EC; 7 pure and 28 mixed), 23 teratomas (TER; 10 pure and 13 mixed), 15 yolk sac tumors (YST; 1 pure and 14 mixed), and 5 choriocarcinomas (CC; 1 pure and 4 mixed), with 11 germ cell neoplasia in situ (GCNIS) and 6 normal testicular tissue as controls. The expression levels of PRAME or SOX17 were evaluated by a scoring system counting for intensity and extent of staining. PRAME nuclear expression was present in 92% (23/25) of SEM, including all 13 pure SEM, and 10 out of 12 seminomatous component of mixed GCT. In contrast, all EC and TER were completely negative for PRAME, and focal expression was demonstrated in 33.3% of YST and 20% of CC. As for SOX17, 96% of SEM and 73% of YST stained positively, whereas EC and CC were negative. Focal nuclear positivity was identified in the epithelial cell component of 17.4% (4/23) of TER. We found the sensitivity of PRAME to detect SEM to be comparable to SOX17, although SOX17 staining is more diffuse and stronger in the majority of cases. The specificity of PRAME for SEM appeared to be superior to that of SOX17 (92% versus 81%). In conclusion, PRAME is preferentially expressed in SEM or within the seminomatous component of mixed GCT with only focal variable expression in YST and CC, but shows no expression in EC and TER. These findings suggest that PRAME can be explored as a diagnostic marker for SEM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104761
JournalExperimental and Molecular Pathology
StatePublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Choriocarcinoma
  • Embryonal carcinoma
  • Germ cell neoplasia in situ (GCNIS)
  • Germ cell tumors
  • SOX17
  • Seminoma
  • Teratoma
  • Testis
  • Yolk sac tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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