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Gestational trophoblastic disease in Abuth Zaria, Nigeria: A 5‑year review

Abimbola O. Kolawole
John K. Nwajagu
Adekunle O. Oguntayo
Marliya S. Zayyan
Sunday Adewuyi


Gestational trophoblastic diseases (GTD) includes a spectrum of diseases (tumor or tumor-like conditions) characterised by aberrant growth and development of the trophoblasts that may continue even beyond the end of pregnancy. It encompasses the benign trophoblastic disease (complete and partial moles), and the malignant trophoblastic diseases including the invasive mole (chorioadenoma destruens), choriocarcinoma, and Placental Site Trophoblastic Tumor (PSTT). This study was to determine the prevalence, risk factors, clinical presentation, diagnosis, treatment options and outcomes of GTD in Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH) Zaria. A five-year retrospective study of patients with GTD managed at ABUTH, North-west Nigeria, from 1st January 2008 to 31st December, 2012 was undertaken. Data of all cases of GTD in the hospital over the 5 year period were obtained. The gynaecology ward and labour ward registers also provided information on the total number of gynaecological admissions and deliveries respectively. The data processing and analysis were carried out using the SPSS software version 16. The data obtained were expressed in percentages, means, and standard deviations. During the period of study there were 8,138 deliveries and 2,453 gynaecological admissions. There were 59 cases of GTD with 41 having choriocarcinoma, 18 molar pregnancies and no case of invasive mole or PSTT. Out of the 41 case folders retrieved, 23 were choriocarcinoma and 18 of molar pregnancies. The prevalence of GTD was 7.2 per 1000 deliveries (0.72% or 1 in 138 deliveries) and constituted 2.4% of gynaecological admissions. Hydatidiform mole (HM) occurred in 1 in 452 deliveries and choriocarcinoma occurred in 1 in 198 deliveries. Ages ranged from 19-49 years with mean of 32.5+ 5.0 years. Most (66.7%) cases of HM were 19-29years while 60.9% of choriocarcinoma cases were 30-39years. Majority of cases were multiparous. The antecedent events predating choriocarcinoma were Hydatidiform mole (31.7%), abortions (29.3%) and 2.4% followed term pregnancy. History of amenorrhea was present in all cases while vaginal bleeding occurred in 97.6%, pallor (87.8%), hyperemesis gravidarum (48.8%) and 4.9% came in shock. Consequently, common complications reported were haemorrhage (90.2%), anemia (87.8%) and shock (12.2%). Pregnancy test was positive in 90.2% of cases and serum beta hCG was done in 24.4% with more than half having a level >12,000miu/ml. All patients had pelvic ultrasound scan and snowstorm appearance occurred in 41% of benign GTD cases. Histology was used to confirm 56.1% cases of choriocarcinoma and 43.9% of molar gestation. Most (94.4%) of HM had suction evacuation while 95.6% of choriocarcinoma cases had chemotherapy, one case (2.4%) had Total Abdominal Hysterectomy. Contraception was used in 78% and common methods were male condom (41.5%) and 36.6% used combined oral contraceptive pills. Less than half (43.9%) had follow up for 6 months and 9.8% were seen for more than a year. Eight patients had subsequent pregnancies and there was one death in the series giving a case fatality of 2.4%. Gestational trophoblastic disease is a significant source of maternal morbidity with increased risk of mortality from complications if not detected early and treated promptly.

Keywords: Choriocarcinoma; gestational trophoblastic disease; human chorionic gonadotrophin; hydatidiform mole; placental site trophoblastic disease