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Gestational Trophoblastic Disease

Young female patient talking to female doctorIf you’ve been diagnosed with gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) you deserve experienced care and access to the most advanced treatments available. Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center is at the forefront of gynecologic cancer research.

What is Gestational Trophoblastic Disease?

GTD is a term that describes a group of growths that can occur inside the uterus after sperm and egg join (conception or fertilization), but do not become a fetus. Although very rare, these growths can become cancerous and spread to other parts of the body.

Types of Gestational Trophoblastic Disease

There are two main types of GTD: hydatidiform mole (HM), also called molar pregnancy, and gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN).

Hydatidiform Mole

Hydatidiform mole (HM) or molar pregnancy is the most common form of GTD. It is most often benign (non-cancerous) and stays in the uterus. There are two types of HM: complete HM, which has a 15 to 25 percent chance of becoming cancer, and partial HM, which has a less than 5 percent chance of becoming cancer.

Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia

There are four main types of GTN:

  • Invasive moles (chorioadenoma destruens): Cancerous growths that can develop from HM but rarely spread outside of the uterus.
  • Choriocarcinoma: A tumor that can develop from HM or after an abortion, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or full-term pregnancy. Choriocarcinomas are the most aggressive form of GTN and can spread throughout the pelvis and to distant sites, such as the lungs, brain, liver, and kidneys.
  • Placental-site trophoblastic tumor (PSTT): A very rare, slow-growing cancer that develops from the placenta.
  • Epithelioid trophoblastic tumor (ETT): A very rare cancer that is similar to choriocarcinoma but less aggressive.