No increase in second tumors after cytotoxic chemotherapy for gestational trophoblastic tumors

N Engl J Med. 1983 Mar 3;308(9):473-6. doi: 10.1056/NEJM198303033080901.


We investigated the incidence of second tumors after cytotoxic chemotherapy in 457 long-term survivors treated for choriocarcinoma or an invasive mole between 1958 and 1978. Treatment was given according to regular intermittent schedules and over a mean period of four months, with no maintenance. Methotrexate was given to all but two patients, and 261 (57 per cent) also received other cytotoxic drugs, most commonly dactinomycin, vincristine, cyclophosphamide, mercaptopurine, and 6-azauridine. After a mean period of 7.8 years since the beginning of treatment and a total of 3522 patient-years of risk, second neoplasms had developed in only two women (acute leukemia in one and carcinoma of the breast in the other). This figure is less than the number of cases of cancer that would have been expected (3.5) in this group and suggests that the use of methotrexate as chemotherapy for choriocarcinoma is not carcinogenic in the medium term.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Breast Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Carcinoma, Intraductal, Noninfiltrating / chemically induced
  • Choriocarcinoma / drug therapy
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydatidiform Mole / drug therapy
  • Hydatidiform Mole, Invasive / drug therapy
  • Leukemia, Myeloid / chemically induced
  • Methotrexate / administration & dosage
  • Methotrexate / adverse effects*
  • Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Pregnancy
  • Trophoblastic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / drug therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Methotrexate