Multimodality therapy for thymic carcinoma (TCA): results of a 30-year single-institution experience

Am J Clin Oncol. 2004 Feb;27(1):68-72. doi: 10.1097/01.coc.0000046301.83671.09.


The aim of this study was to correlate the clinicopathologic features and therapeutic approaches with the outcome of patients with thymic carcinoma (TCA), an aggressive, uncommon malignancy of the anterior mediastinum. TCA is morphologically distinct from thymoma, a cytologically bland, often encapsulated, locally invasive, rarely metastatic tumor. The Roswell Park Cancer Institute tumor registry was used to identify patients with TCA or invasive thymic neoplasm of the epithelial type (TNET). Between 1971 and 2001, 22 patients had a pathologic diagnosis of TCA and/or TNET. The mean age at diagnosis was 53 years (range: 19-77), and the male/female ratio was 3:1 (16/6). Initial symptoms were respiratory in about half the patients (10/22). Complete surgical resection was done in five patients. Postoperative cisplatin-based chemotherapy and radiation was administered to seven patients. Pathologic examination showed low grade(n = 14), intermediate grade (n = 7), and high grade (n = 1) TCA. Capsular invasion was present in 83% of the specimens. As of June 2002, nine patients are alive and eight are disease free. The median survival is 44.7 months. Locally invasive disease precluded complete surgical resection in more than half of our cases. Incomplete surgical resection did not preclude long-term survival if multimodality platinum-based therapy was used.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Survival Analysis
  • Thymus Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome