Ectopic cervical thymoma: a case report with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography findings

Acta Med Okayama. 2012;66(4):357-61. doi: 10.18926/AMO/48691.


Ectopic thymoma is considered to arise from ectopic thymus tissue deposited as a result of the abnormal mislocalization of thymus tissue during the embryonic stage. An 86-year-old man visited our hospital with chief complaints of hoarseness and a mass in his anterior neck. A preoperative needle biopsy of the mass did not yield a definitive diagnosis. A positron emission tomography (PET) study revealed heterogeneous accumulation of (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) in the tumor. The tumor, affecting the left sternocleidomastoid muscle, the recurrent laryngeal nerve, the internal carotid vein, and the brachiocephalic vein, was resected using a combination of a collar incision in the neck and a median incision in the sternum. Immunohistochemically, the tumor was diagnosed as an ectopic thymoma of the neck. To date, only a few cases of ectopic thymoma presenting with FDG accumulation have been reported. Our experience indicates that ectopic thymoma should be kept in mind during the differential diagnosis of neck tumors with FDG accumulation appearing on PET images.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Thymoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Thymoma / pathology
  • Thymus Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Thymus Neoplasms / pathology


  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18