An intrauterine genomic classifier reliably delineates the location of nonviable pregnancies

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Jessica A. Lentscher, M.D., Zachary T. Colburn, Ph.D., Nicole Ortogero, Ph.D., Laurel Gillette, M.Sc., George T. Leonard, M.D., Ph.D., Richard O. Burney, M.D., M.Sc., Gregory E. Chow, M.D.



To compare the intrauterine gene expression signatures of women with surgically confirmed ectopic pregnancy (ECT) and those of women with miscarriage to inform the development of a genomic classifier for the reliable delineation of pregnancy location in women with clinically nonviable pregnancies of unknown location (NV-PULs).


Discovery-based prospective cohort study.


Academic medical center.


Women with clinically nonviable early pregnancy to include abnormal intrauterine pregnancy (AIUP), ECT, or NV-PUL.


Endometrial (EM) pipelle sampling of the uterus was conducted at the time of scheduled surgery for clinically nonviable early pregnancy (dilation and curettage, manual vacuum aspiration, or laparoscopy). All pregnancy locations were surgically and/or histologically confirmed as intrauterine or ectopic.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Gene expression profiles as determined by array hybridization, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, and nCounter technology.


Intrauterine samples were obtained by EM pipelle from 27 women undergoing surgery for a clinically nonviable early pregnancy. Comparison of array-based global gene expression signatures from women with histologically confirmed ECT versus AIUP revealed 61 differentially expressed genes from which the 5 most informative were included in the pregnancy location classifier. All 5 genes (C20orf85, LRRC46, RSPH4A, WDR49, and ZBBX) were cilia-associated and showed increased expression in pipelle samples from women with ECT relative to expression in samples from women with AIUP. The 5-gene classifier demonstrated an average area under the receiver operator characteristic curve of 0.97 for the detection of ECT. In an external test set composed of publicly available EM pipelle-based gene expression data from a study with similar ECT and AIUP cohorts (n = 19), the classifier revealed an average area under the receiver operator characteristic curve of 0.84.


Consistently increased expression of cilia-associated genes in the uterine cavity of women with ECT provides a reliable molecular signal for the delineation of pregnancy location in women with clinically assessed NV-PUL. A classifier consisting of the 5 most informative cilia-associated genes demonstrated 91% (42/46) accuracy in predicting the pregnancy location.

Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.