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Review
. 2018 Apr;118:161-170.
doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2018.01.025. Epub 2018 Feb 8.

Optimal Surgical Approach to Thymic Malignancies: New Trends Challenging Old Dogmas

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Review

Optimal Surgical Approach to Thymic Malignancies: New Trends Challenging Old Dogmas

Enrico Ruffini et al. Lung Cancer. .

Abstract

Until recently, the surgical approach to thymic tumors has remained basically unchanged. The collaborative effort led by ITMIG with the collaboration of regional and society-based interest groups (ESTS, JART) produced an enthusiastic surge of interest in testing the new technological advances in thoracic surgery and many historical dogmas in thymic surgery have been questioned and challenged. The present review addresses the new trends in the optimal surgical management of thymic tumors based on the review of the current literature. 1. Minimally-invasive techniques (MIT) including video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS) and robotic-assisted thoracic Surgery (RATS) are now to be considered the standard of care in early-stage thymic tumors. MIT are no inferior to open approaches in terms of postoperative complications, loco-regional recurrence rates and survival. MIT are associated with a shorter length of stay, reduced intraoperative blood loss and better cosmetic results. 2. The adoption of the ITMIG/IASLC TNM staging system for thymic tumors requires a paradigm shift among thoracic surgeons to include regional lymphadenectomy according to the IASLC/ITMIG nodal map in the surgical management of thymic tumors. 3. A limited thymectomy instead of total thymectomy along with the removal of the thymic tumor in nonmyasthenic Stage I-II tumors has been proposed by some authors, although the results are not uniform. Until more mature data is available, adherence to the current guidelines recommending total thymectomy in addition to thymomectomy is always indicated. 4. In locally-advanced Stage IVa patients with pleural involvement, major pleural resections, including pleurectomy/decortication or extrapleural pneumonectomy are indicated, provided a complete resection of the pleural deposits is anticipated, usually in a multidisciplinary setting, with excellent long-term results. The incorporation of these new concepts and techniques in the surgical armamentarium of the thoracic surgeons dealing with thymic malignancies will certainly be of help in the optimal management of these patients.

Keywords: Lymphadenectomy; Pleural disease; Robotic assisted thoracic surgery; Thymic epithelial tumors; Video-assisted thoracic surgery.

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