Pathology of the Pleura and Mediastinum

2018 Edition
| Editors: Timothy Craig Allen, Saul Suster

Thymoma, Pleural

  • Christopher P. MarquezEmail author
  • Timothy Craig Allen
Reference work entry


Invasive thymoma; Malignant thymoma; Primary pleural epithelial tumor; Primary pleural thymoma


Thymomas are uncommon neoplasms that develop from thymic endothelial cells. They are the most common neoplasm of the anterior mediastinum (0.15 cases per 100,000 persons/year in the USA) and are usually found near the thymus. They are typically considered neoplasms of low malignant potential with a very slow progressive course; however, a small number do spread to local structures, like the pleura, by invasion or implants.

Thymomas can also develop from ectopic thymic tissue (4% of all thymomas), typically within the neck, the middle or posterior mediastinum, or lung. Thymomas originating in the pleura are rare occurrences and because of their location can easily be confused with other neoplasms, both radiologically and morphologically. On chest x-ray, pleural thymomas may appear as localized masses or pleural thickening with encasement of the lung. Computed tomographic...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Attanoos, R. L., Galateau-Salle, F., Gibbs, A. R., Muller, S., Ghandour, F., & Dojcinov, S. D. (2002). Primary thymic epithelial tumours of the pleura mimicking malignant mesothelioma. Histopathology, 41, 42–49.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Cagle, P. T., et al. (2004). Color atlas and text of pulmonary pathology (1st ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.Google Scholar
  3. Kitada, M., Sato, K., Matsuda, Y., Hayashi, S., Tokusashi, Y., Miyokawa, N., & Sasajima, T. (2011). Ectopic thymoma presenting as a giant intrathoracic tumor: A case report. World Journal of Surgical Oncology, 9, 66.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  4. Qing, G., Ionescu, D., Colby, T., & Leslie, K. (2006). A 75-year-old man with an asymptomatic pleural-based mass discovered on routine chest radiographs. Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, 130, e62–e65.Google Scholar
  5. Travis, W. D., Brambilla, E., Müller-Hermelink, H. K., & Harris, C. C. (Eds.). (2004). World health organization classification of tumours. Pathology and genetics of tumours of lung, pleura, thymus and heart. Lyon: IARC Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PathologyThe University of Mississippi Medical School, The University of Mississippi Medical CenterJacksonUSA