Gestational Trophoblastic Disease Treated by Gynecologic Oncologists at Mercy

Ovarian Cancer Institute at Mercy - Baltimore

When gestational trophoblastic disease is suspected, it is important to find the best doctors to diagnose and treat the disease. At The Gynecologic Oncology Center at Mercy, our gynecologic oncologists have the expertise and skill to treat gestational trophoblastic disease. Our doctors have been recognized in the Baltimore region and nationally for their outstanding ability to diagnose and treat female reproductive tract disease.

About the Condition

Gestational trophoblastic disease develops in the uterus from an abnormal growth of cells during pregnancy. Gestational trophoblastic disease occurs when cells that should develop into the placenta grow into a mass, or tumor, that attaches to the uterine wall. The majority of gestational trophoblastic disease is not cancerous. Surgery is the main course of treatment and in most cases gestational trophoblastic disease can be cured.

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Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Types of Gestational Trophoblastic Disease

There are four types of gestational trophoblastic disease:

  • Hydatidiform Mole
    The hydatifiform mole, also referred to as a molar pregnancy, is the most common type of gestational trophoblastic disease. A complete hydatidiform mole occurs when sperm fertilizes an egg that does not contain a nucleus or DNA, causing the chromosomes from the sperm to double. A partial hydatidiform mole occurs when more than one sperm fertilizes an egg. In both cases of this type of gestational trophoblastic disease, a normal pregnancy is not possible. Typically a dilation and curettage (D&C), during which the uterine lining is scraped to remove the abnormal growth, is performed to remove the hydatidiform mole.

    A partial hydatidiform mole is rarely cancerous. A complete hydatifiform mole can develop into cancer and often invades the muscle wall of the uterus. Called persistent gestational trophoblastic disease, this growth most often is known as an invasive mole, another type of gestational trophoblastic disease.
  • Invasive Mole
    An invasive mole is a hydatidiform mole that grows into the uterine muscle below the uterine lining. Sometimes this type of gestational trophoblastic disease goes away by itself, but most need surgical treatment. In some cases, after the removal of the tumor, the remnants can be found in other parts of the body, specifically the lungs.
  • Choriocarcinoma
    Choriocarcinoma is a cancerous type of gestational trophoblastic disease. It forms from a hydatidiform mole or from tissue that remains in the uterus following childbirth or a miscarriage. This form of gestational trophoblastic disease is more likely to grow quickly and spread to areas outside the pelvis. Chemotherapy is the most common treatment for choriocarcinoma.
  • Placental-site Trophoblastic Tumor
    A placental-site trophoblastic tumor is a rare form of gestational trophoblastic disease. This tumor, which develops where the placenta attaches to the uterus lining, forms after a normal pregnancy or after a hydatifiform mole is removed. A placental-site trophoblastic tumor can invade the uterine muscle and rarely spreads to other areas of the body. Though a hysterectomy can be performed to remove the tumor, there is a slight chance that the tumor already could have spread. Chemotherapy is not a recommended treatment for placental-site trophoblastic tumor.

Symptoms of Gestational Trophoblastic Disease

Common symptoms of gestational trophoblastic disease include vaginal bleeding while pregnant or a faster rate of uterine swelling than a normal pregnancy. It is important to be examined by a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of gestational trophoblastic disease if any of these symptoms are experienced.

Tests for Gestational Trophoblastic Disease

Most cases of gestational trophoblastic disease are found during prenatal appointments. Blood tests can provide an indication that a suspected pregnancy is not normal and a routine ultrasound can confirm that a pregnancy does not exist. Because of these routine tests during regular prenatal appointments, gestational trophoblastic disease often is detected early.

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Treatment Options

Treatment for this condition depends on the type of gestational trophoblastic disease that is discovered. The gynecologic oncologists at Mercy work with each woman to carefully evaluate her symptoms and tests and develop a treatment plan suited to her needs.

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Hyung S. Ryu, M.D., is a highly skilled gynecologic surgeon, providing treatment of ovarian, cervical and uterine cancers at Mercy.

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