Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia Treatment at the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence in Rwanda

J Glob Oncol. 2016 Apr 13;2(6):365-374. doi: 10.1200/JGO.2015.002568. eCollection 2016 Dec.


Purpose: Gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN) is a highly treatable disease, most often affecting young women of childbearing age. This study reviewed patients managed for GTN at the Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence (BCCOE) in Rwanda to determine initial program outcomes.

Patients and methods: A retrospective medical record review was performed for 35 patients with GTN assessed or treated between May 1, 2012, and November 30, 2014. Stage, risk score, and low or high GTN risk category were based on International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics staging and the WHO scoring system and determined by beta human chorionic gonadotropin level, chest x-ray, and ultrasound per protocol guidelines for resource-limited settings. Pathology reports and computed tomography scans were assessed when possible. Treatment was based on a predetermined protocol stratified by risk status.

Results: Of the 35 patients (mean age, 32 years), 26 (74%) had high-risk and nine (26%) had low-risk disease. Nineteen patients (54%) had undergone dilation and curettage and 11 (31%) had undergone hysterectomy before evaluation at BCCOE. Pathology reports were available in 48% of the molar pregnancy surgical cases. Systemic chemotherapy was initiated in 30 of the initial 35 patients: 13 (43%) received single-agent oral methotrexate, 15 (50%) received EMACO (etoposide, methotrexate, dactinomycin, cyclophosphamide, and vincristine), and two (7%) received alternate regimens. Of the 13 patients initiating methotrexate, three had their treatment intensified to EMACO. Four patients experienced treatment delays because of medication stockouts. At a median follow-up of 7.8 months, the survival probability for low-risk patients was 1.00; for high-risk patients, it was 0.63.

Conclusion: This experience demonstrates the feasibility of GTN treatment in rural, resource-limited settings. GTN is a curable disease and can be treated following the BCCOE model of cancer care.