Gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) is a general term for rare tumors that form from the tissues surrounding fertilized egg. GTD is often found early and usually cured. Hydatidiform mole (HM) is the most common type of GTD. Explore the links on this page to learn more about GTD treatment and clinical trials.

Gestational Trophoblastic Disease Treatment

  • Gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) is a group of rare diseases in which abnormal trophoblast cells grow inside the uterus after conception.
  • Hydatidiform mole (HM) is the most common type of GTD.
  • Gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN) is a type of gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) that is almost always malignant.
    • Invasive moles
    • Choriocarcinomas
    • Placental-site trophoblastic tumors
    • Epithelioid trophoblastic tumors
  • Age and a previous molar pregnancy affect the risk of GTD.
  • Signs of GTD include abnormal vaginal bleeding and a uterus that is larger than normal.
  • Tests that examine the uterus are used to detect (find) and diagnose gestational trophoblastic disease.
  • Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

Gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) is a group of rare diseases in which abnormal trophoblast cells grow inside the uterus after conception.

In gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD), a tumor develops inside the uterus from tissue that forms after conception (the joining of sperm and egg). This tissue is made of trophoblast cells and normally surrounds the fertilized egg in the uterus. Trophoblast cells help connect the fertilized egg to the wall of the uterus and form part of the placenta (the organ that passes nutrients from the mother to the fetus).

Sometimes there is a problem with the fertilized egg and trophoblast cells. Instead of a healthy fetus developing, a tumor forms. Until there are signs or symptoms of the tumor, the pregnancy will seem like a normal pregnancy.

Most GTD is benign (not cancer) and does not spread, but some types become malignant (cancer) and spread to nearby tissues or distant parts of the body.

Gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) is a general term that includes different types of disease:

  • Hydatidiform Moles (HM)
    • Complete HM.
    • Partial HM.
  • Invasive moles.
  • Choriocarcinomas.
  • Placental-site trophoblastic tumors (PSTT; very rare).
  • Epithelioid trophoblastic tumors (ETT; even more rare).Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia (GTN)

Hydatidiform mole (HM) is the most common type of GTD.

HMs are slow-growing tumors that look like sacs of fluid. An HM is also called a molar pregnancy. The cause of hydatidiform moles is not known.

HMs may be complete or partial:

  • A complete HM forms when sperm fertilizes an egg that does not contain the mother’s DNA. The egg has DNA from the father and the cells that were meant to become the placenta are abnormal.
  • A partial HM forms when sperm fertilizes a normal egg and there are two sets of DNA from the father in the fertilized egg. Only part of the fetus forms and the cells that were meant to become the placenta are abnormal.

Signs of GTD include abnormal vaginal bleeding and a uterus that is larger than normal.

These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by gestational trophoblastic disease or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Vaginal bleeding not related to menstruation.
  • A uterus that is larger than expected during pregnancy.
  • Pain or pressure in the pelvis.
  • Severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
  • High blood pressure with headache and swelling of feet and hands early in the pregnancy.
  • Vaginal bleeding that continues for longer than normal after delivery.
  • Fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, and a fast or irregular heartbeat caused by anemia.

GTD sometimes causes an overactive thyroid. Signs and symptoms of an overactive thyroid include the following:

  • Fast or irregular heartbeat.
  • Shakiness.
  • Sweating.
  • Frequent bowel movements.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Feeling anxious or irritable.
  • Weight loss.

Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

Gestational trophoblastic disease usually can be cured. Treatment and prognosis depend on the following:

  • The type of GTD.
  • Whether the tumor has spread to the uterus, lymph nodes, or distant parts of the body.
  • The number of tumors and where they are in the body.
  • The size of the largest tumor.
  • The level of β-hCG in the blood.
  • How soon the tumor was diagnosed after the pregnancy began.
  • Whether GTD occurred after a molar pregnancy, miscarriage, or normal pregnancy.
  • Previous treatment for gestational trophoblastic neoplasia.

Treatment options also depend on whether the woman wishes to become pregnant in the future.

The following stages are used for GTN:

Stage I

In stage I, the tumor is in the uterus only.

Stage II

In stage II, cancer has spread outside of the uterus to the ovary, fallopian tube, vagina, and/or the ligaments that support the uterus.

Stage III

In stage III, cancer has spread to the lung.

Stage IV

In stage IV, cancer has spread to distant parts of the body other than the lungs.

What is Cancer?

  • Cancer can start almost anywhere in the human body, which is made up of trillions of cells. Normally, human cells grow and divide to form new cells as the body needs them. When cells grow old or become damaged, they die, and new cells take their place.

  • Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the risk of getting cancer. This can include maintaining a healthy lifestyle, avoiding exposure to known cancer-causing substances, and taking medicines or vaccines that can prevent cancer from developing.

  • Cancer can cause many different symptoms. Most often these symptoms are not caused by cancer, but by benign tumors or other problems. If you have symptoms that last for a couple of weeks, your doctor will do a physical exam and order tests or other procedures to find out what is causing your symptoms.