Molecular pathology of thymic epithelial neoplasms

Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 2008 Jun;22(3):443-55. doi: 10.1016/j.hoc.2008.03.007.


The etiology and molecular pathogenesis of thymic tumors are unknown. However, during the last two decades there has been some progress on elucidating the genetic abnormalities present and molecular pathways altered in thymic tumors. These abnormalities, while bearing distinctions and similarities to those described in other tumors, can be organized under the "hallmarks of cancer," as proposed by Hanahan and Weinberg. These changes include self-sufficiency in growth signaling, insensitivity to antigrowth signals, ability to evade apoptosis, limitless replicative potential, ability to sustain angiogenesis, and tissue invasion and metastasis. However, this progress is still limited and has not led to better tumor classifications, prognostication of outcome, and design of molecular targeted therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic* / genetics
  • Humans
  • Thymoma / genetics*
  • Thymoma / pathology
  • Thymus Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Thymus Neoplasms / pathology