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Pediatr Pathol Mol Med. 2002 Sep-Oct;21(5):451-9.

Association between Breus' mole and partial hydatidiform mole: chance or can hydropic villi precipitate placental massive subchorionic thrombosis?

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  • 1Department of Pathology, IWK Grace Health Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


Breus' mole (massive subchorionic hematoma) is a rare entity most often found in the placentae of macerated stillborn fetuses. Previously considered to represent a postmortem event, recent evidence suggests that it occurs prior to fetal demise. A 23-week gestation male neonate was delivered of a 23-year-old gravida 3, para 2 woman and survived for 49 min. An autopsy with chromosomal studies resulted in a diagnosis of triploidy. Placental examination showed the presence of both Breus' mole and also partial hydatidiform mole. DNA samples extracted from portions of the fresh hematoma and from the fetal spleen were compared using molecular techniques. PCR analysis showed the presence of Y chromosome specific DNA in the placental clot, but a semiquantitative Southern blot demonstrated that roughly 85% of the clot DNA was of maternal origin. These findings suggest that Breus' mole represents primarily maternal thrombosis rather than fetal hemorrhage. We hypothesize that the partial mole could have contributed to the formation of the Breus' mole as some of the hydropic villi may have focally obstructed the maternal venous return from the intervillus space causing sluggish flow and promoting thrombosis. A review of the literature on Breus' mole shows that the majority of reported cases have not included cytogenetic findings. However, several authors have reported an association with triploidy and other chromosomal anomalies characterized by scattered placental hydropic villi. Thus, we suggest that obstruction of maternal venous return by hydropic villi may have played a contributory role in some of these other reported cases.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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