Fatal gestational choriocarcinoma. Clinicopathologic study of patients treated at a trophoblastic disease center

Michael T. Mazur*, John Robert Lurain III, John I. Brewer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Scopus citations


We studied 31 autopsied cases of gestational choriocarcinoma encountered at the Northwestern University Trophoblastic Disease Center in the past two decades to learn if the clinical and morphologic aspects of these cases have been altered by therapy. These cases were analyzed for cause of death, distribution of tumor and histologic patterns in relation to the amount of chemotherapy. Tumor hemorrhage and/or pulmonary insufficiency were the most common causes of death, irrespective of the amount of therapy although other factors including drug toxicity, sepsis, and uremia led to death in six cases. The amount of chemotherapy generally did not affect the number or distribution of metastases. Histologically, nine cases showed extensive or complete necrosis. Eighteen of the remaining tumors had typical biphasic patterns, but four patients who received multiple courses of chemotherapy had atypical patterns with a marked predominance of cytotrophoblast and infiltrative growth. These atypical patterns do not appear to be a direct result of chemotherapy but may represent a more aggressive form of this tumor. This study shows that fatal gestational choriocarcinoma can have a variety of clinicopathologic features which reflect not only the biologic capabilities of the neoplasm but also the effects of chemotherapy and prolonged disease. Cancer 50:1833‐1846, 1982.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1833-1846
Number of pages14
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1982


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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