Gestational Trophoblastic Tumor: Symptoms and Signs

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 01/2012

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Women with a GTT may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, women with a GTT do not show any of these symptoms. Or, these symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer. If you are concerned about a symptom or sign on this list, please talk with your doctor.

A GTT may not cause any symptoms in its early stage because it may resemble a normal pregnancy. However, the following symptoms could signal a potential problem:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • A pregnancy where the baby has not moved at the expected time
  • A uterus that is larger than expected at a given point in the pregnancy
  • Pregnancy-associated high blood pressure at an early point in the pregnancy

Choriocarcinoma or a placental-site trophoblastic tumor (see Overview) may cause a wide variety of symptoms, including vaginal bleeding after a seemingly normal delivery. Symptoms may appear after a normal birth weeks, months, or even years in rare situations.

In the rare situations when the cancer spreads to other organs, specific symptoms may occur depending on the location. In this case, a GTT may be misdiagnosed as another health problem. For example, spread of choriocarcinoma to the brain may result in bleeding, which can be mistaken for a brain aneurysm. A beta human chorionic gonadotropin (beta hCG) blood test (see Diagnosis) should help to clarify the diagnosis.

Your doctor will ask you questions about the symptoms you are experiencing to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis. This may include how long you've been experiencing the symptom(s) and how often.

If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms and side effects remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section helps explain what tests and scans may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Diagnosis, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.