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Can A Molar Pregnancy Turn Into Cancer?

A molar pregnancy is a chance complication of pregnancy. This condition is caused due to trophoblasts – the cells that would normally grow into placenta over time – growing improperly. This condition is also known by the name hydatidiform mole. It can cause some very serious complications, including a very rare type of cancer.

Can A Molar Pregnancy Turn Into Cancer?

Can A Molar Pregnancy Turn Into Cancer?

Molar pregnancy, in itself, is not cancerous, but it can develop into a rare type of cancer, known as Gestational Trophoblastic Disease or GTD. In fact, a molar pregnancy is the most common type of Gestational Trophoblastic Disease.

  • When a molar pregnancy is removed, some molar tissue may remain inside the uterus and keep continuing its growth. This is known as persistent Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia (GTN). It is found more in the complete type and less in partial type of molar pregnancies.
  • A presence of HCG- Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone- is one of the signs of GTN. Ideally, this hormone should go away once the molar pregnancy is removed. Its presence beyond the removal of molar pregnancy may be an indication of GTN. An invasive molar pregnancy can sometimes root much into the wall of the uterus, up to the inside, and can cause serious bleeding from vagina.
  • Persistent GTN can be usually efficiently treated with the help of chemotherapy. If this does not work, another option can be hysterectomy-extraction of uterus.

A very rare cancerous type of GTN known as choriocarcinoma, can develop in rare cases and can spread to other organs. Choriocarcinoma can also be efficiently treated with the help of different cancer drugs. This complication is more seen in complete type of molar pregnancy than in partial type of molar pregnancy.

Prevention Of Molar Pregnancy

  • If you suffered from a molar pregnancy, it is recommended to consult your doctor before you try to get pregnant again
  • Your doctor may advise you to wait for at least six months to an year and then try for conception
  • There is a low chance of recurrence, though it is comparatively more than the hazard for women who have never suffered from a molar pregnancy
  • When you get pregnant again, your doctor may recommend doing ultrasound and other tests earlier in pregnancy, to identify any untoward factors in your pregnancy
  • There is also an option of genetic testing, to identify the molar pregnancy

Treatment Of Molar Pregnancy

Molar pregnancy cannot be continued and should be removed. The treatment may comprise of one or many of the following techniques-

(D&E) dilatation and evacuation-

  • This is usually an outpatient procedure
  • A local or general anesthesia is administered during the procedure
  • You will be asked to lie down on an operating table and your legs will be arranged in a stirrup position
  • With the help of a speculum, the cervix will be exposed
  • With the help of dilators, the cervix will be dilated, and the contents of the uterus will be removed through vacuum device


If you do not want to have any future pregnancies and if there is also a risk of GTN (Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia), the uterus can be removed through surgery


After the removal of the molar pregnancy, your doctor will monitor you regularly for the levels of your HCG hormone, till it returns to normal. This may even continue for up to one year, to make sure there is no molar tissue remaining or growing inside your uterus

Your doctor may also advise you to not try for pregnancy for the next six months to a year.


A molar pregnancy is a chance complication of pregnancy. It occurs when the trophoblasts – the cells that would normally grow and become placenta over time – grow abnormally. A molar pregnancy is not a cancer. However, it can lead to a very serious and a rare type of cancer if not treated promptly and efficiently.


  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). (2021). Gestational Trophoblastic Disease. Link: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/gestational-trophoblastic-disease

  2. MedlinePlus. (2021). Hydatidiform mole. Link: https://medlineplus.gov/hydatidiformmole.html

  3. Lurain, J. R. (2010). Gestational trophoblastic disease I: epidemiology, pathology, clinical presentation and diagnosis of gestational trophoblastic disease, and management of hydatidiform mole. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 203(6), 531-539. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2010.06.072 Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002937810007073

  4. Seckl, M. J., Sebire, N. J., Fisher, R. A., Golfier, F., Massuger, L., Sessa, C., & ESMO Guidelines Working Group. (2010). Gestational trophoblastic disease: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Annals of Oncology, 21(Supplement_5), v39–v50. DOI: 10.1093/annonc/mdq194 Link: https://academic.oup.com/annonc/article/21/suppl_5/v39/209238

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 22, 2023

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