Adjuvant radiotherapy after complete resection of thymoma

Ann Thorac Surg. 1992 Aug;54(2):311-5. doi: 10.1016/0003-4975(92)91391-l.


Seventy patients were studied after undergoing complete resection of thymoma to determine the effect of postoperative adjuvant mediastinal radiotherapy on prognosis, with regard to clinical stage, histological type, and pleural factor. Pleural factor was defined as follows: p0, no adhesion to the mediastinal pleura; p1, fibrous adhesion to the mediastinal pleura without microscopic invasion; and p2, microscopic invasion of the mediastinal pleura. Recurrence of thymoma after complete resection was observed in 13 patients, 12 (92%) with pleural dissemination, 6 (46%) with local recurrence, and 2 (15%) with distant metastasis (types of recurrence are overlapping). In stage I and stage II p0 patients, no recurrence was observed, regardless of mediastinal radiotherapy. Whereas mediastinal irradiation completely prevented recurrence in stage II p1 patients, 4 (36.4%) nonirradiated stage II p1 patients experienced recurrence. In stage II p2 patients, 75% had pleural dissemination even after radiotherapy. A high incidence of recurrence was also observed in stage III, nonirradiated (25%) and irradiated (30%) patients. The results suggest that mediastinal irradiation for stage I and II p0 patients is not always necessary, and that therapy for stage II p1 is essential and also expected to decrease the recurrence rate. On the other hand, in stage II p2 and stage III thymomas, mediastinal irradiation is not sufficient to prevent pleural recurrence even after complete resection. Our classification based on pleural factor is useful for better selection of appropriate postoperative treatment for thymoma patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Survival Rate
  • Thymoma / mortality
  • Thymoma / radiotherapy*
  • Thymoma / surgery
  • Thymus Neoplasms / mortality
  • Thymus Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Thymus Neoplasms / surgery