Thymoma: a clinicopathological correlation of 1470 cases

Hum Pathol. 2018 Mar:73:7-15. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2017.08.018. Epub 2017 Aug 26.


We present 1470 surgical resections for thymoma identified in the pathology files of 14 institutions from 11 countries with the purpose of determining and correlating a simplified histological classification of thymoma and pathological staging with clinical outcome. The study population was composed of 720 men and 750 women between the ages of 12 and 86 years (average, 54.8 years). Clinically, 137 patients (17%) had a history of myasthenia gravis, 31 patients (3.8%) of other autoimmune disease, and 55 (6.8%) patients of another neoplastic process. Surgical resection was performed in all patients. Histologically, 1284 (87.13%) cases were thymomas (World Health Organization types A, B1, and B2, and mixed histologies), and 186 (12.7%) were atypical thymomas (World Health Organization type B3). Of the entire group, 630 (42.9%) were encapsulated thymomas, and 840 (57.9%) were invasive thymomas in different stages. Follow-up information was obtained in 1339 (91%) patients, who subsequently were analyzed by univariate and multivariate statistical analysis. Follow-up ranging from 1 to 384 months was obtained (mean, 69.2 months) showing tumor recurrence in 136 patients (10.1%), whereas 227 died: 64 (28.2%) due to tumor and 163 (71.8%) due to other causes. Statistical analysis shows that separation of these tumors into thymoma and atypical thymoma is statistically significant (P = .001), whereas tumor staging into categories of encapsulated, minimally invasive, and invasion into adjacent organs offers a meaningful clinical assessment with a P = .038. Our findings suggest that our simplified histological schema and pathological staging system are excellent predictors of clinical outcome.

Keywords: Classification; Mediastinum; Staging; Thymoma; Thymus.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging / methods
  • Thymoma / classification*
  • Thymoma / pathology*
  • Thymus Neoplasms / classification*
  • Thymus Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Young Adult