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Gestational Trophoblastic Disease Treatment (PDQ®)

Recurrent or Chemoresistant Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia Treatment

Recurrent disease indicates failure of prior chemotherapy unless initial therapy was surgery alone. One study found recurrence of disease in 2.5% of patients with nonmetastatic disease, 3.7% of patients with good-prognosis metastatic disease, and 13% of patients with poor-prognosis metastatic disease.[1] Nearly all recurrences occur within 3 years of remission (85% before 18 months). A patient whose disease progresses after primary surgical therapy is generally treated with single-agent chemotherapy unless one of the poor-prognosis factors that requires combination chemotherapy supervenes. Relapse after failure of prior chemotherapy automatically places the patient in the high-risk category. These patients should be treated with aggressive chemotherapy.

Reports of combination chemotherapy come from small retrospective case series. Long-term disease-free survival, in excess of 50%, is achievable with combination drug regimens.[2][Level of evidence: 3iiiDii] A variety of regimens have been reported that include combinations of the following:[3-7]

  • Cisplatin.
  • Etoposide.
  • Bleomycin.
  • Ifosfamide.
  • Paclitaxel.
  • 5-fluorouracil.
  • Floxuridine.

A select group of patients with chemotherapy-resistant and clinically detectable gestational trophoblastic neoplasia may benefit from salvage surgery.[8][Level of evidence: 3iiiDii]

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with recurrent gestational trophoblastic tumor. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.


  1. Mutch DG, Soper JT, Babcock CJ, et al.: Recurrent gestational trophoblastic disease. Experience of the Southeastern Regional Trophoblastic Disease Center. Cancer 66 (5): 978-82, 1990. [PUBMED Abstract]
  2. Newlands ES: The management of recurrent and drug-resistant gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN). Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol 17 (6): 905-23, 2003. [PUBMED Abstract]
  3. Matsui H, Iitsuka Y, Suzuka K, et al.: Salvage chemotherapy for high-risk gestational trophoblastic tumor. J Reprod Med 49 (6): 438-42, 2004. [PUBMED Abstract]
  4. Xiang Y, Sun Z, Wan X, et al.: EMA/EP chemotherapy for chemorefractory gestational trophoblastic tumor. J Reprod Med 49 (6): 443-6, 2004. [PUBMED Abstract]
  5. Lurain JR, Nejad B: Secondary chemotherapy for high-risk gestational trophoblastic neoplasia. Gynecol Oncol 97 (2): 618-23, 2005. [PUBMED Abstract]
  6. Wan X, Xiang Y, Yang X, et al.: Efficacy of the FAEV regimen in the treatment of high-risk, drug-resistant gestational trophoblastic tumor. J Reprod Med 52 (10): 941-4, 2007. [PUBMED Abstract]
  7. Wang J, Short D, Sebire NJ, et al.: Salvage chemotherapy of relapsed or high-risk gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN) with paclitaxel/cisplatin alternating with paclitaxel/etoposide (TP/TE). Ann Oncol 19 (9): 1578-83, 2008. [PUBMED Abstract]
  8. Lehman E, Gershenson DM, Burke TW, et al.: Salvage surgery for chemorefractory gestational trophoblastic disease. J Clin Oncol 12 (12): 2737-42, 1994. [PUBMED Abstract]
  • Updated: February 25, 2015