Cumulus cell transcriptome profiling is not predictive of live birth after in vitro fertilization: a paired analysis of euploid sibling blastocysts

Fertil Steril. 2018 Mar;109(3):460-466.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2017.11.002. Epub 2018 Feb 7.


Objective: To compare the transcriptome of cumulus cells associated with a euploid embryo that resulted in live birth with that of a sibling euploid embryo without sustained implantation.

Design: Paired analysis.

Setting: Academic institution.

Patient(s): Couples undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF)/intracytoplasmic sperm injection with preimplantation genetic screening with female age ≤42 years and normal ovarian reserve.

Intervention(s): Transcriptome profiling of cumulus cells from sibling oocytes for correlation with live birth after euploid blastocyst transfer. Embryos were individually cultured to facilitate association with clinical outcomes. The cumulus cell transcriptome from the embryo resulting in live birth was compared with that of its sibling embryo without sustained implantation to investigate potential biomarkers that may aid in embryo selection.

Main outcome measure(s): Differential gene expression in cumulus cells associated with a euploid embryo resulting in live birth and its sibling euploid embryo without sustained implantation using next-generation RNA sequencing (RNAseq).

Result(s): Cumulus cell RNAseq of 34 samples (from 17 patients) generated an average of 10.4 ± 4 × 106 reads per sample. A total of 132 differentially expressed genes between sibling embryos that resulted in a live birth and those that did not were identified (P<.05). However, after correcting for multiple testing none of the genes remained significantly differentially expressed (false discovery rate <.05).

Conclusion(s): The RNAseq profiles were similar between cumulus cells associated with a euploid embryo resulting in live birth and its sibling embryo that did not sustain implantation. The cumulus cell transcriptome is not predictive of live birth within an individual patient's cohort of euploid embryos.

Keywords: Cumulus cell; RNA sequencing; in vitro fertilization; live birth.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blastocyst* / pathology
  • Cumulus Cells / chemistry*
  • Embryo Implantation
  • Embryo Transfer
  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Fertilization in Vitro* / adverse effects
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Genetic Markers
  • Humans
  • Infertility / diagnosis
  • Infertility / genetics
  • Infertility / physiopathology
  • Infertility / therapy*
  • Live Birth
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Preimplantation Diagnosis / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sperm Injections, Intracytoplasmic
  • Transcriptome*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Genetic Markers