Urothelial Carcinomas with Trophoblastic Differentiation, including Choriocarcinoma: Clinicopathologic Series of 16 Cases

Christopher G. Przybycin, Jesse K. McKenney, Jane K. Nguyen, Rajal B. Shah, Saleem A. Umar, Lara Harik, Ie Ming Shih, Roni M. Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Trophoblastic differentiation (including choriocarcinoma) arising in urothelial carcinoma has been described in numerous case reports, but never in a single series. We present a series of these tumors, describing the morphologic spectrum, applying traditional and novel immunohistochemical stains, and characterizing clinical follow-up. We identified 16 cases, arising predominantly in the bladder (N=14), but also the ureter (N=1) and prostatic urethra (N=1). Six of our cases (38%) contained invasive urothelial carcinoma with admixed syncytiotrophoblasts, 8 cases (50%) consisted of invasive urothelial carcinoma with choriocarcinoma, 1 case (6%) showed urothelial carcinoma in situ with associated choriocarcinoma, and 1 case (6%) consisted of pure choriocarcinoma. Other subtypes of variant morphology were seen in 5 of our cases (31%) and included squamous, glandular, lipoid, chordoid/myxoid, and sarcomatoid features. Given the limited specificity of human chorionic gonadotropin immunohistochemistry, we also studied the expression of a novel specific trophoblastic marker, hydroxyl-δ-5-steroid dehydrogenase, as well as Sal-like protein 4. Human chorionic gonadotropin expression was seen in nearly all cases (93%) but was often not limited to the trophoblastic component, staining the urothelial component also in 85% of the cases. Expression of hydroxyl-δ-5-steroid dehydrogenase was more sensitive and more specific, staining 100% of the cases and limited to trophoblasts in all but 1 case. Sal-like protein 4 expression was variable, staining trophoblast in only 50% of cases and staining the urothelial carcinoma component in 43% of those positive cases. Most of our tumors presented at a high stage and were associated with poor clinical outcomes, with at least muscle-invasive disease (pT2) in 10 of the 14 bladder tumors (71%), periureteric fat invasion in the ureter tumor (pT3), distant metastases in 7 of 16 cases (44%) and death of disease in 3 of the 15 patients with follow-up (20%). Our study describes a series of urothelial carcinomas with trophoblastic differentiation, demonstrating the morphologic spectrum of this entity, its frequent association with other subtypes of variant morphology, its characteristic immunoprofile, and its aggressive clinical behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1322-1330
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • bladder cancer
  • choriocarcinoma
  • trophoblastic
  • urothelial carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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