Pathology of the Pleura and Mediastinum

2018 Edition
| Editors: Timothy Craig Allen, Saul Suster

Thymic Carcinoma

  • David SusterEmail author
  • Paul VanderLaan
Reference work entry


Type C thymoma


Thymic carcinoma is defined as a poorly differentiated thymic epithelial neoplasm displaying overt cytological evidence of malignancy and complete loss of organotypical features of thymic differentiation. No reliable histopathologic features have yet been identified which distinguish these tumors from metastasis to the thymus, and histologically they are characterized by morphologic features which are identical to those of tumors from many other epithelial organs. In most cases thymic carcinoma remains a diagnosis of exclusion; the diagnosis made after thorough clinical and radiological correlation has ruled out the possibility of metastasis from a distant site (which is more common than primary thymic carcinoma). Thymic carcinomas are in general highly aggressive neoplasms and unlike thymoma tend not to be associated with paraneoplastic syndromes such as myasthenia gravis.

Thymic carcinomas are most often located in the anterior mediastinum. They can...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Masaoka, A., Yasumasa, M., Kazuya, N., & Tsuneo, T. (1981). Follow-up study of thymomas with special reference to their clinical stages. Cancer, 48(11), 2485–2492. Print.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Nishino, M., Ashiku, S. K., Kocher, O. N., et al. (2006). The thymus: A comprehensive review. Radiographics, 26(2), 335–348.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Suster, S. (2005a). Thymic carcinoma: Update of current diagnostic criteria and histologic types. Seminars in Diagnostic Pathology, 22, 198–212.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Suster, S. (2005b). Thymic carcinoma: Update of current diagnostic criteria and histologic types. Seminars in Diagnostic Pathology, 22(3), 198–212. Print.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Suster, S., & Moran, C. A. (2009). The mediastinum. In N. Weidner, R. Cote, S. Suster, & L. Weiss (Eds.), Modern surgical pathology (2nd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 454–516). Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Suster, S., & Rosai, J. (1991). Thymic carcinoma. A clinicopathologic study of 60 cases. Cancer, 67, 1025–1032.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Travis, W. D., Brambilla, E., Burke A. P., Marx A., Nicholson A. G. (Eds.). (2015). WHO classification of tumours; pathology and genetics of tumours of the lung, pleura, thymus and heart. Lyon: IARC Press. 4th ed.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA