Molar Pregnancies

  • Kurt Benirschke
  • Peter Kaufmann


The term “gestational trophoblastic neoplasia” has become popular in recent years, although it comprises entities that are clearly not neoplastic, such as triploid partial moles. Others commonly now refer to these entities as GTDs (gestational trophoblastic tumors). Driscoll (1981), in an excellent review of the morphology of these diseases, strongly favored abandonment of the time-honored term hydatidiform mole. Fox (1989) has added fuel to the fire by suggesting the following: “Is it, in fact, justifiable to continue distinguishing complete from partial moles in routine histopathological practice?” He based this opinion primarily on the exceptional finding of a single case of choriocarcinoma said to have followed a partial mole (Looi & Sivanesaratnam, 1981). Persisting trophoblastic disease has also been described by Rice et al. (1990). More recently, Fox (1997), in analyzing the histological differences between complete hydatidiform mole (CHM) and partial hydatiform mole (PHM), concluded that a degree of subjectivity accompanies these decisions, an opinion with which we strongly agree. Malinowski et al. (1995) have gone even further by suggesting a continuum to exist from molar degeneration to choriocarcinoma, when they proposed the existence of the “sad fetus syndrome,” the association of a fetus with molar or neoplastic conditions. This view is not ours, however. After all, choriocarcinoma is also an occasional sequela of an apparently “normal” gestation, as Fox readily conceded, and there may have been a choriocarcinomatous cell line from early embryogenesis.


Hydatidiform Mole Gestational Trophoblastic Disease Molar Pregnancy Trophoblastic Tumor Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kurt Benirschke
    • 1
  • Peter Kaufmann
    • 2
  1. 1.University Medical CenterUniversity of California, San DiegoSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Institut für Anatomie der Medizinischen FakultätRheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule AachenAachenGermany

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