After a molar pregnancy has been removed, molar tissue may remain and continue to grow. This is called persistent gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD). It occurs in about 1 of every 5 women after a molar pregnancy — usually after a complete mole rather than a partial mole.

One sign of persistent GTD is when the level of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) — a pregnancy hormone — remains high after the molar pregnancy has been removed. In some cases, an invasive mole penetrates deep into the middle layer of the uterine wall, which causes vaginal bleeding. Persistent GTD can nearly always be successfully treated, most often with chemotherapy. Another treatment option is removal of the uterus (hysterectomy).

Rarely, a cancerous form of GTD known as choriocarcinoma develops and spreads to other organs. Choriocarcinoma is usually successfully treated with multiple cancer drugs.

Oct. 24, 2014