Pleural recurrence of thymoma: surgical resection followed by hyperthermic intrathoracic perfusion chemotherapy†

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2016 Jan;49(1):321-6. doi: 10.1093/ejcts/ezv039. Epub 2015 Feb 9.


Objectives: Recurrences of thymoma are described in 10-30% of cases up to 10 years after surgical resection. Herein we report our experience with surgical removal of pleural recurrences followed by hyperthermic intrathoracic perfusion chemotherapy (HITHOC).

Methods: We prospectively collected data of patients with pleural recurrence of thymoma who underwent surgery followed by HITHOC. After thoracotomy had been closed, drainages were connected to a dedicated perfusion machine, pleural space was filled with saline solution, progressively heated up to 42.5°C. At this time, chemotherapeutic agents (Doxorubicin and Cisplatin) were injected and perfusion lasted 60 min.

Results: In the period 2005-2012, 13 consecutive patients have been treated (8 males, 5 females, mean age 46 years). Initial Masaoka-Koga stage was 2 IIa, 5 IIb, 5 III, 1 IVa. Disease-free interval was 47.2 months on average [standard deviation (SD): 25.5]. Nine patients presented paraneoplastic syndromes (8 myasthenia gravis and 1 red cell aplasia). Complete resection was achieved in all cases except one. HITHOC was successfully performed in all cases and no signs or symptoms of toxicity were recorded in the perioperative period. With a mean follow-up period of 64.6 months (SD: 32.5), 1 patient died for toxicity following systemic chemotherapy, another one died disease-free, 4 patients developed pleural relapses (2 ipsilateral, 2 contralateral) and 1 mediastinal and abdominal nodal metastases. Mean survival was 58 months [SD: 34.4), median survival by the Kaplan-Meier method was not reached while 5-year actuarial survival was 92%.

Conclusions: HITHOC was shown to be feasible and safe. In terms of efficacy, it seems promising but multicentre studies and a longer follow-up period are required to ascertain its effectiveness.

Keywords: Chemotherapy; Hyperthermia; Pleural recurrence; Thymoma.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant / methods
  • Chemotherapy, Cancer, Regional Perfusion / instrumentation
  • Chemotherapy, Cancer, Regional Perfusion / methods
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia, Induced / methods
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Pleural Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pleural Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thoracotomy / methods
  • Thymoma / secondary*
  • Thymoma / therapy*
  • Thymus Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thymus Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Doxorubicin
  • Cisplatin