Gestational Trophoblastic Disease: Latest Research

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 07/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about GTD and how to treat it. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors are working to learn more about gynecologic tumors (tumors in the female reproductive system), ways to prevent them, how to best treat them, and how to provide the best care to women diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Because GTD is uncommon, GTD-only clinical trials may be hard to find. However, there are several clinical trials that are open to people with different types of cancer, particularly other gynecologic tumors, that include GTD. Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.

New drug therapies. Researchers are studying new drugs for the treatment of GTD and gynecologic cancers, including targeted therapies. Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets the tumor’s specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to its growth and survival. New drugs that impair various processes in the tumor cell, including topoisomerase-I inhibitors (drugs that interfere with the replication of DNA, which affects tumor cell growth), angiogenesis inhibitors (drugs that stop the formation of blood vessels that deliver nutrients needed for the tumor to grow and spread), and microtubule agents (drugs that disrupt the structure of tumor cells), are being tested to treat GTD. In addition, researchers are also studying the use of growth factors added to chemotherapy.

New treatment combinations. Doctors continue to evaluate different combinations of current treatment options and different drugs, as well as integrating new approaches that are being studied in clinical trials.

Stem cell transplantation. A stem cell transplant is a medical procedure in which diseased bone marrow is replaced by highly specialized cells, called hematopoietic stem cells. Early studies are underway to determine if transplantation is effective for advanced GTD. Learn more about stem cell transplantation.

Causes of GTD. Researchers are working to learn more about what causes GTD, including possible chromosome changes or problems.

Earlier diagnosis. There is research being done to produce more sensitive blood tests to find hCG levels at smaller amounts, which could lead to some women being diagnosed with GTD at an earlier stage.

Supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current treatments for GTD in order to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.

To find clinical trials specific to your diagnosis, talk with your doctor or search online clinical trial databases now.

The next section addresses how to cope with the symptoms of the disease or the side effects of its treatment. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Coping with Side Effects, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.