Gestational Trophoblastic Disease (GTD) Risks and Prevention

Women who have had a hydatidiform mole (molar pregnancy) are at greater risk for developing GTD tumors (cancer). Women with a prior history of one or more molar pregnancies should speak with their doctor to understand their risk of developing future molar pregnancies.

Gestational Trophoblastic Disease (GTD) Risk Factors

Risk factors affect the chance of developing GTD. Having a risk factor, or even several, does not mean that you will get cancer.

Women who have had a hydatidiform mole (molar pregnancy) are at greater risk for getting GTD tumors (cancer). Hydatidiform mole is caused by problems during fertilization. Potential causes may include defects in the egg, problems within the uterus, or a diet low in protein, animal fat, and vitamin A. Women under age 16 or older than 40 have a higher risk for this condition. Women are also more likely to have a molar pregnancy if they have had one in the past.

The abnormal tissue from the mole can continue to grow even after it is removed and can turn into cancer. About half of all women with a choriocarcinoma had a hydatidiform mole, or molar pregnancy.

Choriocarcinoma is an uncommon, but very curable cancer associated with pregnancy. The cancer may develop after a normal pregnancy; however, it is most often associated with a complete hydatidiform mole. Choriocarcinomas may also occur after an abortion, ectopic pregnancy, or genital tumor.

Gestational Trophoblastic Disease (GTD) Prevention

The only way to prevent gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) is to not get pregnant. However, GTD is so rare that its prevention should not be a factor in family planning decisions.

Women with a prior history of one or more molar pregnancies should speak with their doctor to understand their risk of developing future molar pregnancies.

If you have a condition that puts you at risk for GTD, you may benefit from consulting with a genetic counselor to determine your risk.