Background: There are few data on outcomes after surgical treatment for recurrent thymic tumors. The aim of this study is to analyze and compare long-term outcomes of treatments for recurrent thymic tumors.
Methods: Between January 1956 and December 2009, 344 thymic tumors were surgically resected (309 thymomas, 22 thymic carcinomas, 12 thymic carcinoids, and 1 thymolipoma). There were 48 recurrences (13.9%): 30 thymomas, 9 thymic carcinomas, and 9 thymic carcinoids. There were 27 men and 21 women with a median age of 51 years (range, 27 to 83). Retrospective chart review was performed. Relevant factors for recurrence as well as survival and progression-free interval were analyzed.
Results: The median follow-up interval from the initial operation was 83 months (range, 9 to 515). Recurrence adversely affected overall survival in surgically resected thymic tumors (p = 0.0014). In multivariate analysis, the initial Masaoka stage, incomplete resection, and World Health Organization histology were significant risk factors for recurrence. In multivariate analysis, only surgical management was associated with prolonged survival p = 0.0038) and improved progression-free interval (p = 0.0378) in recurrent thymoma. Five-year survival after recurrent thymoma was 54%. For recurrent thymic carcinoma, surgery did not improve survival. For these patients, chemotherapy was associated with improved progression-free interval after recurrence (p = 0.0295). There were no 5-year survivors of recurrent thymic carcinoma.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that surgical management is associated with better outcome and is the treatment of choice for recurrent thymoma. For recurrent thymic carcinoma, surgical management has a very limited role, and chemotherapy appears to be a more effective treatment modality.
Copyright © 2012 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.