A choriocarcinoma is a highly malignant neoplasm of trophoblastic cells. It occurs in 1 in 30000 to 1 in 65000 pregnancies in the UK.
Fifty percent of patients have had a preceding molar pregnancy; 25% of cases follow a spontaneous or induced abortion; and 25% of cases follow a normal or an ectopic pregnancy.
Pathologically, the tumour is soft, highly vascular, and bleeds readily. Histologically, it consists of sheets of syncitio - and cytotrophoblast without identifiable villi. It grows rapidly and metastasises early, especially to the lungs.
Genetic analysis usually reveals aneuploidy or polyploidy.
Serum beta-hCG is raised, and is used to monitor treatment.
Last reviewed 07/2021