Medical Definition of Choriocarcinoma

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Choriocarcinoma: A highly malignant tumor that arises from trophoblastic cells within the uterus. Choriocarcinoma tends to be invasive and to metastasize early and widely through both the venous and lymphatic systems. Choriocarcinoma is one of the two types of gestational trophoblastic tumor, the other being hydatidiform mole.

Choriocarcinoma may follow any type of pregnancy. It is especially likely to occur with a hydatidiform mole (molar pregnancy). About 2 to 3% of hydatidiform moles are complicated by the development of choriocarcinoma.

The prognosis for women with metastatic choriocarcinoma was once grim. It has markedly improved with the advent of multidrug chemotherapy. Patients with high-risk metastatic disease usually need aggressive multidrug chemotherapy. Women with low-risk metastatic disease are sometimes treated with a single drug. Overall, the cure rate for high-risk patients is 60 to 80%.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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