Pathology of the Pleura and Mediastinum

2018 Edition
| Editors: Timothy Craig Allen, Saul Suster


  • Alessandro De PellegrinEmail author
Reference work entry


Thymolipoma is a benign tumor composed of normal thymus tissue and mature adipose tissue.

Half of the patients affected are asymptomatic, while the other half may present with symptoms attributable to mass effect, such as dyspnea, chest pain, coughing, hoarseness, and cyanosis. However, these tumors are often discovered incidentally by means of chest imaging done for unrelated causes.

Some patients may have associated myasthenia gravis.

CT and MRI scans show an anterior mediastinal mass and may highlight the presence of fat in the tumor.

Clinical Features

  • Incidence

    Thymolipoma is a rare tumor accounting from 2% to 9% of all thymic tumors, with a reported incidence of 0.12/100,000 people.

  • Age

    It can occur in any age, although it is more discovered in the third or fourth decade of life.

  • Sex

    No gender predilection.

  • Site

    It almost exclusively occurs in the anterior mediastinum.

  • Treatment

    Treatment is surgical resection.

  • Outcome

    Prognosis is excellent.



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References and Further Reading

  1. Damadoglu, E., Salturk, C., Takir, H. B., Ertugrul, M., Yilmaz, A., Atasalihi, A., & Yilmaz, A. (2007). Mediastinal thymolipoma: An analysis of 10 cases. Respirology, 12(6), 924–927.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Moran, C. A., Rosado-de Christenson, M., & Suster. (1995). Thymolipoma: Clinicopathologic review of 33 cases. Modern Pathology, 8, 741–744.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Rosado-de-Christenson, M. L., Pugatch, R. D., Moran, C. A., & Galobardes, J. (1994). Thymolipoma: Analysis of 27 cases. Radiology, 193, 121–126.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Travis, W.D. et al. (2004). Tumours of the thymus. In Pathology and genetics of tumours of the lung, pleura, thymus and heart (pp. 145–247). IARC Press, Lyon.Google Scholar
  5. Weissferdt, A., & Moran, C. A. (2014). Lipomatous tumors of the anterior mediastinum with muscle differentiation: A clinicopathological and immunohistochemical study of three cases. Virchows Archiv, 464(4), 489–493.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