Surgical treatment of pleural recurrence of thymoma: is hyperthermic intrathoracic chemotherapy worthwhile?

Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2020 May 1;30(5):765-772. doi: 10.1093/icvts/ivaa019.


Objectives: Recurrence of thymoma is described in 10-30% of cases after surgical resection. Iterative surgery for thymoma pleural relapses (TPRs) is often part of a multimodal treatment. Hyperthermic intrathoracic chemotherapy (HITHOC) following macroscopic radical surgery is an option that combines the effects of mild hyperthermia with those of chemotherapeutic agents. We evaluated the effectiveness of surgery + HITHOC, compared with surgery alone, in the treatment of TPR.

Methods: We retrospectively collected data of all patients who underwent surgery for TPR in our centre from 2005 to 2017. Relapses were treated by partial pleurectomy with radical intent, followed by HITHOC when not contraindicated. Patients were divided into 2 groups: surgery + HITHOC and surgery alone. We collected demographic and clinical data and analysed postoperative results together with oncological outcomes.

Results: Forty patients (27: surgery + HITHOC, 13: surgery alone), mean age 49.8 (±13.7) years, were included in this study. There were no perioperative deaths. We experienced 33.3% perioperative morbidity in the surgery + HITHOC group compared with 23.1% in the surgery alone group (P = 0.71). The overall survival rate was comparable between the 2 groups (P = 0.139), whereas the local disease-free interval was 88.0 ± 15 months in the surgery + HITHOC group and 57 ± 19.5 months in the surgery alone group (P = 0.046). The analysis of factors affecting the outcomes revealed that radical surgery is related with a better survival rate whereas the local disease-free interval was significantly influenced by HITHOC.

Conclusions: The safety and feasibility of HITHOC in the treatment of TPR are already known, even if it should be reserved for selected patients. Surgery + HITHOC seems to be associated with a longer local disease-free time compared to surgery alone.

Keywords: Hyperthermic intrathoracic chemotherapy; Recurrences; Redo-surgery; Thymoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / mortality
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / therapy*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pleural Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pleural Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Thoracic Surgical Procedures / methods
  • Thymoma / mortality
  • Thymoma / pathology
  • Thymoma / therapy*
  • Thymus Neoplasms / mortality
  • Thymus Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thymus Neoplasms / therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents