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Gestational trophoblastic disease

This page was reviewed under our medical and editorial policy by Maurie Markman, MD, President, Medicine & Science

This page was updated on July 20, 2022.

In a normal pregnancy, cells grow and surround the fertilized egg, connecting the egg to the wall of the uterus and forming the placenta, which is responsible for feeding the fetus during pregnancy.

Gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) is a rare condition—accounting for fewer than 1 percent of all gynecologic cancers and occurring in about one of every 1,000 pregnancies in the United States, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. GTD is an umbrella term for a group of rare diseases in which abnormal trophoblast cells grow inside the uterus after conception, forming a tumor.

GTD is usually not cancerous, though some tumors may become cancerous and spread. The disease is generally treatable, especially if diagnosed early.

No GTD patient is the same. Get personalized treatment.

At City of Hope, our gynecologic oncologists are trained and experienced in treating cancerous GTD. They work with a multidisciplinary team of cancer experts and other clinicians, collaborating in designing a care plan tailored to each patient’s needs and goals. Each patient-focused treatment plan also includes supportive care services designed to help the patient manage, and when possible prevent, side effects of the disease and its treatment.

GTD is such an important focus at City of Hope, in fact, that each of our hospitals has a Gynecologic Cancer Center, focusing on treating women with cancer of the reproductive organs.

This overview will cover the basic facts about GTD, including:

If you believe you may be experiencing symptoms of GTD and want to schedule an appointment for diagnostic testing, or if you’re interested in a second opinion on your GTD diagnosis and treatment plan, call us or chat online with a member of our team.

What causes GTD?

Anne Strayham

Anne S.

Uterine Cancer

"The care I received at City of Hope still amazes me. I felt genuine concern and empathy. If I was having a meltdown moment, someone was there to hand me a tissue. No one made me feel silly about the questions I had, and my questions were answered. At City of Hope, I felt like my doctor cared, and that he takes the time to care. I don’t see him or the members of my care team checking their watches during an appointment with me. That alone is extraordinary to me."


More About ANNE

GTD types

GTD is usually identified as a hydatidiform mole (a molar pregnancy) or as gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN). Each disease is categorized into various subtypes.

They include:

  • Complete and partial molar pregnancies
  • Gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN) (typically cancerous), which include:
  • Invasive mole
  • Choriocarcinoma
  • Placental-site trophoblastic tumors (PSTT)
  • Epithelioid trophoblastic tumors (ETT)

Learn more about the types of GTD

GTD symptoms

Diagnosing GTD

Tests that may be used for diagnosing GTD include:

Learn more about diagnostic procedures for GTD

Treating GTD

Diagnosis and treatment options at our Gynecologic Cancer Centers

At our Gynecologic Cancer Centers, we treat GTD using standard-of-care and, when appropriate, innovative precision medicine treatments.

Surgical and chemotherapy treatments for GTD may cause a number of side effects that affect your quality of life, including pain, malnutrition and depression. Our multidisciplinary care team includes gynecologic oncologists and supportive care therapists who work together to design treatment plans that are tailored to you and your needs, while reducing side effects of the cancer and its treatment as much as possible.

We understand that managing these side effects is an important part of recovery. The team approach at City of Hope is designed to put patients in the middle of their care, treating the disease and managing side effects in real time so they can get back to their lives.