The hydatidiform mole is a benign disease of the placenta characterized by the absence of the maternal genome. Approximately 3% of the reported cases will develop into malignant choriocarcinoma. In situ hybridization analysis reveals that the paternal platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) β receptor gene is up to 2 orders of magnitude more active in cytotrophoblasts of the complete hydratidiform moles than in normal placentae. The transition between hyperplasia (complete hydatidiform mole) and neoplasia (choriocarcinoma) in these cells correlates with at least a 10- to 20-fold activation of the PDGF-B gene. Since the neoplastic cytotrophoblasts have maintained an abnormally high level of PDGF β receptor expression, we propose that a deregulated PDGF autostimulatory loop is involved in the genesis of human choriocarcinoma from hydratidiform moles.


Supported by grants awarded by the Swedish Cancer Research Foundation (RmC; nos. 241, 1955, and 2777) and the Swedish Science Foundation (NFR; 4494-301, 4494-302, and 4494-303).

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