Dr Owen Kang and Radswiki et al.

Choriocarcinoma is an aggressive highly vascular tumour. When it is associated with gestation, it is often considered part of the spectrum of gestational trophoblastic disease. It is then termed a gestational choriocarcinoma. When it occurs in the absence of preceding gestation, it is termed a non gestational choriocarcinoma (these occur most often in the ovary or testes).

Depends on the site of origin of the tumour. In females, it may occur during or outside of pregnancy; non-gestational choriocarcinoma of the ovary typically occurs in prepubertal girls and postmenopausal women. Testicular choriocarcinomas usually present in male patients between the ages of 15-30 9.

In the classical case of gestational choriocarcinoma in females, the tumour is derived from chorionic epithelium. 


Typically arises in association with reproductive organs such as:

Primary occurrence outside the reproductive system has been reported but is extremely rare. Such sites include:

Trophoblastic cells have an affinity for blood vessels and therefore the tumours have a tendency to metastasise through the haematogenous route.

Choriocarcinoma is one of the (more common) causes of cannonball metastases to the lung.


High levels of βhCG are usually seen in cases of choriocarcinoma.

Imaging features of the primary tumour is dependent on location and it is more meaningful to refer to each individual subtypes.

The tumour is aggressive in its behaviour and metastases are often frequent (lungs are common metastatic site). Despite this aggressiveness, it is generally highly chemosensitive and carries a much better cure rate than other comparable malignancies.


A significant proportion of the complications arise from haemorrhage due to high vascularity in either primary tumour or metastases.

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Article Information

rID: 13101
Section: Pathology
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Choriocarcinoma : General
  • Choriocarcinomas
  • Choriocarcinoma - General

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    Case 1: choriocarcinoma of uterus
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    Case 2: metastatic choriocarcinoma to the brain
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    Case 3: choriocarcinoma of the testis
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    Case 4: metastatic uterine choriocarcinoma
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    Case 5: metastatic ovarian choriocarcinoma
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    Case 6: metastatic testicular
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