Primary pulmonary choriocarcinoma

Last revised by David Luong on 4 Jul 2021

Primary pulmonary choriocarcinoma (PPC) is a type of non gestational choriocarcinoma which originates in the lung. It is an extremely rare entity.

Presentation can be variable ranging from dyspnea, cough and chest pain, to weight loss. Some patients may present with hemoptysis. On occasion it may be routinely discovered as an incidental lung mass / lesion 5.

Serum beta HCG levels tend to be elevated - and may drop following resection and therapy 6.

In contrast to gestational choriocarcinoma, primary pulmonary choriocarcinomas are considered generally unresponsive to surgical and chemotherapeutic treatment and are thought to carry a much poorer prognosis (with 5 year survival being under 5%). At the time of initial writing, resection followed by adjuvant chemotherapy is considered to be the most effective 1.

When a suspected lung lesion demonstrates "choriocarcinoma" on histology following biopsy - the main differential consideration is metastatic choriocarcinoma to lung.

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