Chemotherapy is particularly beneficial for gestational trophoblastic tumors that have spread to distant parts of the body. These drugs function by killing all actively dividing cells in the body, particularly the cells in the bone marrow, hair follicle, and lining of the intestines and mouth. The most common side effects of chemotherapy are due to the destruction of these cells. They include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, mouth sores, and hair loss.
Low blood cell counts also frequently occur, including low red blood cells (causing fatigue), white blood cells (increased susceptibility to infections), and low platelets (easy bleeding and bruising). Other side effects that can occur are lung problems, inflammation of the eye, chest or abdominal pain, rashes, and irritation of the bladder, and damage to nerves. Most side effects are temporary and go away when the chemotherapy treatments are completed.