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Gestational trophoblastic syndrome: An audit of 112 patients. A South African experience
  1. M. Moodley,
  2. K. Tunkyi and
  3. J. Moodley
  1. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and MRC/UN Pregnancy Hypertension Research Unit, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, University of Natal, Durban, South Africa
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to: M. Moodley, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, Private Bag 7, Congella, 4013, South Africa. Email: gynae{at}


Gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD) represents a spectrum of histologically distinct entities including molar pregnancy and choriocarcinoma. The incidence of GTD varies in different parts of the world with high incidences in countries like Japan (2/1000 pregnancies). With the advent of sensitive assays for detection of serum β human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) and ultrasound, GTD can now be detected earlier in pregnancy. To date no studies have been reported from South Africa regarding the epidemiology, management, and outcome of patients with GTD. This study was a retrospective audit based on 112 patients with GTD treated at King Edward VIII Hospital, Durban, South Africa. Clinical records of patients were reviewed with regards to presentation, investigation, management and outcome. Of 112 patients, there were 78 patients (70%) with hydatidiform mole and 34 patients (30%) with choriocarcinoma. The mean age of patients was 28.5 years (SD 8.1 years). The majority of patients were Black females (94.6%) while 4.4% were Asian and 1% Coloured females. The most common presenting symptom was vaginal bleeding (93.8%). There were 74 patients (66.7%) who had a previous normal term pregnancy and only two patients (1.8%) had previous molar pregnancies. Suction curettage was the main treatment modality for patients with molar pregnancy while choriocarcinoma was treated primarily with chemotherapy. A total of 72 percent of patients with molar pregnancy and 28 percent with choriocarcinoma had complete remission after initial treatment. Twelve patients died during the course of treatment mainly due to late presentation and advanced metastatic disease. Complete cure was achieved in 89% of patients. Age, parity, previous history, initial uterine size, presence of theca-lutein cysts, and initial βHCG concentration was not found to be prognostic for persistent trophoblastic disease. In the present study, the incidence of molar pregnancy and choriocarcinoma was 1.2/1000 and 0.5/1000 deliveries, respectively. This is much lower than those quoted from countries such as Japan. However, the incidence quoted from our study may be overestimated as this was a hospital-based study and most of the uncomplicated deliveries occur in referring centers. Only 20% of patients in this study were above the age of 35 years with a mean age of 28.5 years. The majority of patients were of Black African ethnic origin mainly due to the fact that our hospital is a referral center for Black patients. Similar to other studies, the majority of patients with molar pregnancy were treated with suction curettage while the majority of patients with choriocarcinoma were treated with chemotherapy. Overall, spontaneous remission was achieved in 60% of patients with molar pregnancy and an overall complete cure was achieved in 89% of patients.

  • gestational trophoblastic disease
  • South Africa

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