Obstetrics and Gynecology/Gestational Trophoblastic Disease

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Gestational Trophoblastic Disease comprises a spectrum of tumors of the gestational trophoblast which range from completely benign to aggressively malignant.

There are four types of trophoblastic tumor

  • Hydatidiform Mole
  • Chorioadenoma Destruens (Invasive Mole)
  • Choriocarcinoma
  • Placental Site Trophoblastic Tumor

They all secrete the hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG).

Hydatidiform Mole[edit | edit source]

Hydatidiform Mole is a benign tumor of the trophoblast caused by abnormal fertilization.

Epidemiology[edit | edit source]

The incidence of hydatidiform mole differs depending on age, ethnic origin and classification of mole. The complete mole is most common in women under 20 and over 39, whilst the partial mole is more common in women between 20-30. The complete mole is most common among women from the Gulf region of the Middle East, while the partial mole is most common among South-East Asians. The incidence in the UK, Ireland and the USA is 1 in 2,000 pregnancies for the complete mole and 1 in 5,000 pregnancies for the partial mole.

Etiology and Pathogenesis[edit | edit source]

In the case of the complete mole, the ovum has lost all maternal genetic material. This is subsequently fertilized by a single sperm which duplicates, or undergoes dispermic fertilization. In the case of the partial mole, a normal ovum undergoes dispermic fertilization resulting in a complicated triploid structure containing vesicular cysts and fetal and placental tissue. The complete mole has 46XX chromosomes and the partial mole has 69XXY chromosomes. Both are at low risk of development into malignant tumors of trophoblastic origin.

Clinical Features[edit | edit source]


  • Vaginal Bleeding
  • Hyperemesis Gravidarum


  • Soft uterus enlarged inconsistent with dates
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Thyrotoxicosis
  • Fetal heart sounds absent
  • Ovarian enlargement


Management[edit | edit source]

The treatment is surgical:

  • Group and hold
  • Evacutation suction
  • IV syntocinon

Chorioadenoma Destruens[edit | edit source]

Chorioadenoma Destruens is a malignant tumor of the trophoblast caused by abnormal fertilization. This results when a hydatidiform mole invades locally. 5-10% of all molar pregnancies are choriadenomas. A common complication is uterine rupture by the tumor itself, but metastasis is rare. Treatment is with chemotherapy and follow-up.

Choriocarcinoma[edit | edit source]

Choriocarcinoma is the most malignant of the trophoblastic tumors. The incidence of choriocarcinoma has been estimated at between 1 in 30,000 pregnancies to 1 in 60,000 pregnancies. They are highly invasive and metastasise early to the lungs and brain, among other locations. Half result from hydatidiform moles but they can, occasionally, result from normal pregnancies. Treatment is by chemotherapy and follow-up.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Graham I H, Fajardo A M, Richards R L. Epidemiological Study of Complete and Partial Hydatidiform Mole in Abu Dhabi: Influence of Maternal Age and Ethnic Group. J Clin Path 1990;43: 661-664.
  • O'Connor, J. Pathology 2nd ed. Mosby. Edinburgh. 2002.
  • McCarthy, A & Hunter, B (2003) Master Medicine: Obstetrics and Gynaecology (2nd ed.) Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunder
  • http://www.gpnotebook.co.uk