Choriocarcinoma is a quick-growing form of cancer that occurs in a woman's uterus (womb). The abnormal cells start in the tissue that would normally become the placenta, the organ that develops during pregnancy to feed the fetus.
Choriocarcinoma is a type of gestational trophoblastic disease.
Choriocarcinoma is an uncommon, but very often curable cancer that occurs during pregnancy. A baby may or may not develop in these types of pregnancy.
The cancer may occur after a normal pregnancy. However, it most often occurs with a complete hydatidiform mole. The abnormal tissue from the mole can continue to grow even after it is removed, and can turn into cancer. About half of all women with a choriocarcinoma had a hydatidiform mole, or molar pregnancy.
Choriocarcinomas may also occur after an early pregnancy that doesn't continue (miscarriage), ectopic pregnancy, or genital tumor.
A possible symptom is vaginal bleeding in a woman who recently had a hydatidiform mole or pregnancy.
Other symptoms may include:
Irregular vaginal bleeding
Signs and tests
A pregnancy test will be positive even if you are not pregnant. Pregnancy hormone (HCG) levels will be high.
A pelvic exam may show uterine swelling or a tumor.
Braunstein GD. Endocrine changes in pregnancy. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology, 12th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 21.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington; and Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.