Pathology of the Pleura and Mediastinum

2018 Edition
| Editors: Timothy Craig Allen, Saul Suster

Thymic Neuroendocrine Carcinoma

  • Alessandro De PellegrinEmail author
Reference work entry


Carcinoid; Current rubrics for primary neuroendocrine tumors of the thymus include neuroendocrine carcinoma (NEC); Thymic neuroendocrine tumor

For this entry, the terminology of neuroendocrine carcinoma (NEC) will be adopted.


Mediastinal NECs are supposed to arise from thymic neuroendocrine cells of neural crest origin. They have to be distinguished from otherwise typical thymic carcinomas, which may contain scattered neuroendocrine cells, and from non-epithelial neurogenic tumors, such as paragangliomas.

The taxonomy of thymic NECs and the diagnostic criteria thereof are currently comparable to those used for pulmonary neuroendocrine tumors; some authors have proposed a three-tiered, alternative histoprognostic classification, that nowadays has been accepted from new W.H.O. Classification (Table 1).
Thymic Neuroendocrine Carcinoma, Table 1

Comparison of NEC classification

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References and Further Reading

  1. Marchevsky AM, & Wick RM (2014) Neuroendocrine carcinomas of the thymus. In Pathology of the mediastinum (pp. 131–145). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (UK).Google Scholar
  2. Moran, C. A. (2005). Primary neuroendocrine carcinomas of the mediastinum: Review of current criteria for histopathologic diagnosis and classification. Seminars in Diagnostic Pathology, 22(3), 223–229.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Moran, C. A., & Suster, S. (2000). Neuroendocrine carcinomas (carcinoid tumor) of the thymus. A clinicopathologic analysis of 80 cases. American Journal of Clinical Pathology, 114(1), 100–110.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Travis WD et al. (2004) Tumors of the thymus. In Pathology and genetics of tumors of the lung, pleura, thymus and heart (pp. 145–247). IARC Press, Lyon (FR).Google Scholar
  5. Weissferdt, A., Tang, X., Wistuba, I. I., & Moran, C. A. (2013). Comparative immunohistochemical analysis of pulmonary and thymic neuroendocrine carcinomas using PAX8 and TTF-1. Modern Pathology, 26(12), 1554–1560.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.General University Hospital “Santa Maria della Misericordia”UdineItaly