Gestational trophoblastic neoplasia: Novelties and challenges

Placenta. 2021 Dec:116:38-42. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2021.02.013. Epub 2021 Feb 25.


Gestational trophoblastic diseases are a group of pregnancy-related disorders, originated from trophoblast cells. They include benign and aggressive tumors, such as the invasive mole, the choriocarcinoma, the placental site trophoblastic tumor (PSTT), and the epithelioid trophoblastic tumor (ETT). These malignancies are characterized as gestational trophoblastic neoplasm (GTN), rarer, although more dangerous. The diagnosis of GTN is made in most cases by monitoring serum chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) with histological confirmation. The use of specific tissue biomarkers has been increasingly employed as a differential diagnosis, leading to more accurate results and different therapy protocols and prognosis for each GTN. The treatment is based on the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics anatomical staging system and the World Health Organization prognostic score system. If an accurate diagnosis is made and the guidelines followed, the cure for choriocarcinoma and invasive mole cases can reach 98%, whereas PSTT and ETT still present mild success rates. The improved knowledge about GTN and its peculiarities allows physicians to efficiently achieve the differential diagnosis and choose the best available therapy protocol, thus increasing the overall survival of affected women. Nevertheless, obtaining epidemiological data and improving knowledge through basic and translational research are essential to answer open questions on GTN physiopathology, their causes, and cellular behavior.

Keywords: Biomarkers; Chemotherapy; Gestational trophoblastic neoplasia; Histopathology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Gestational Trophoblastic Disease / diagnosis*
  • Gestational Trophoblastic Disease / metabolism
  • Gestational Trophoblastic Disease / pathology
  • Humans
  • Placenta / metabolism
  • Placenta / pathology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prognosis
  • Trophoblastic Tumor, Placental Site / diagnosis*
  • Trophoblastic Tumor, Placental Site / metabolism
  • Trophoblastic Tumor, Placental Site / pathology
  • Trophoblasts / metabolism
  • Trophoblasts / pathology*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Uterine Neoplasms / pathology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor