EMA/CO regimen in high-risk gestational trophoblastic tumor (GTT)

Gynecol Oncol. 1988 Nov;31(3):439-44. doi: 10.1016/s0090-8258(88)80029-5.


From June 1980 through December 1985, 36 high-risk GTT patients received Bagshawe's EMA/CO regimen, 22 as first-line, and 14 as second-line treatment, after primary chemotherapy with CHAMOCA, or cyclic regimen, or MTX-CF. All treated patients were metastatic at the start of treatment with EMA/CO; three showed liver metastases and one brain metastasis. Seventeen patients had a high score, greater than 15. Nineteen patients had histologically confirmed diagnosis of choriocarcinoma. The overall response rate was 86% with 81% survival during a median observation time of 32 months. The median number of courses needed to achieve complete remission was 3 (range 3-7). Toxicity was acceptable, and was less than with CHAMOCA and MAC regimens. Only 1 out of 17 high-risk patients developed drug resistance, and 3 needed urgent surgery. The relapse rate of responders was 19% after a median of 5.5 months. The survival rate of high-risk patients was 88%, of which 76% are alive with no evidence of disease, while 12% have still detectable beta-chorionic gonadotrophin. The remission rate in the second-line treatment group was 64%, higher than using other regimens such as MAC or CHAMOCA. In conclusion, we consider EMA/CO to be the best choice for patients with high-risk GTT, because it is effective and well tolerated. In our opinion, the cure rate of high-risk GTT could perhaps be improved by starting trials to establish what salvage treatment to employ after EMA/CO failure and using more aggressive first-line chemotherapy in selected high-risk patients, on the basis of the scoring system.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Dactinomycin / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Etoposide / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyurea / administration & dosage
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Neoplastic / drug therapy*
  • Trophoblastic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Vincristine / administration & dosage


  • Dactinomycin
  • Vincristine
  • Etoposide
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Hydroxyurea
  • Methotrexate

Supplementary concepts

  • CHAMOCA regimen
  • EMA-CO protocol
  • MAC combination