General Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 1–12 | Cite as

Thymoma and thymic carcinoma

  • Federico VenutaEmail author
  • Erino A. Rendina
  • Marco Anile
  • Tiziano de Giacomo
  • Domenico Vitolo
  • Giorgio F. Coloni
Guest Review Article


Thymic tumors comprise a heterogeneous group of neoplasms with a wide spectrum of clinical presentations. The evolution of the disease is often unpredictable, ranging from an indolent attitude to the possibility of intra- and extrathoracic spread. From the histological point of view, thymoma and thymic carcinoma are the most frequent subtypes and arise only from thymic epithelial cells. Other histological types are even more rare and are usually considered separately. A number of prognostic factors have been validated as predictors of outcome: staging, World Health Organization histological classification, diameter of the tumor, associated paraneoplastic syndromes, completeness of resection, and early onset of recurrence. Complete surgical resection is the key factor for cure and should be considered the gold standard at any stage. Especially for more aggressive lesions, surgery should be considered with a multimodality approach, involving induction and adjuvant therapy according to the stage. Multimodality therapy protocols have been designed based on the integration of clinical staging and histology. Neoadjuvant therapy is now administered before surgical resection in patients with tumors considered inoperable as it improves resectability and survival and reduces the risk of recurrence. Adjuvant treatment has been extensively reported after both complete or partial resection. New targeted therapies are in the developmental stage, and in the future they will be part of the standard protocols. Integrated treatment modalities require strict cooperation between medical and radiation oncologists, thoracic surgeons, and pathologists.

Key words

Thymoma Thymic carcinoma Mediastinal tumors Myasthenia gravis 


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Association for Thoracic Surgery 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Federico Venuta
    • 1
    Email author
  • Erino A. Rendina
    • 1
  • Marco Anile
    • 1
  • Tiziano de Giacomo
    • 1
  • Domenico Vitolo
    • 1
  • Giorgio F. Coloni
    • 1
  1. 1.Cattedra di Chirurgia Toracica, Policlinico Umberto IUniversità di Roma SAPIENZARomeItaly

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