Outcomes of extended resection for locally advanced thymic malignancies

Respir Med Res. 2023 Jun:83:101009. doi: 10.1016/j.resmer.2023.101009. Epub 2023 Mar 23.


Background: Thymic malignancies are rare tumors about which data are limited. Our objective here was to evaluate the outcomes and risk factors for complications and death in patients who underwent extended surgery to remove thymic malignancies.

Methods: We retrospectively included patients who underwent extended resection of locally advanced, nonmetastatic thymic malignancies at our institution. Patients were deemed eligible for resection by a multidisciplinary team. During surgery, priority was given to achieving complete resection rather than to sparing organs.

Results: The 108 patients had a mean age of 53 ± 15 years (range, 9-83); among them, 91 had thymoma, 12 thymic carcinoma, and 5 neuroendocrine tumor. The Masaoka stage was III or higher in 86 patients; examination of operative specimens resulted in downstaging of 22 patients. Tumor-free resection margins were achieved in 98 patients. Overall 5- and 10-year survival rates were 80% and 68%, respectively. Myasthenia gravis, present in 36 patients, was the only independent significant risk factor for major postoperative complications. Age older than 70 years, thymic carcinoma or neuroendocrine tumor, pT3 or pT4 stage, and R1 or R2 resection margins independently predicted death. The number of resected structures was not associated with survival. Thymic carcinoma or neuroendocrine tumor was independently associated with shorter disease-free survival.

Conclusion: In an expert center, extended resection targeting complete resection rather than organ preservation provided good outcomes in patients with locally advanced thymic malignancies. The risk/benefit ratio of surgery should be assessed with special care in patients who are elderly or have myasthenia gravis.

Keywords: Outcomes; Risk factors; Surgical resection; Thymic carcinoma; Thymoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Margins of Excision
  • Middle Aged
  • Myasthenia Gravis* / epidemiology
  • Myasthenia Gravis* / pathology
  • Myasthenia Gravis* / surgery
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors* / pathology
  • Neuroendocrine Tumors* / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thymoma* / pathology
  • Thymoma* / surgery
  • Thymus Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Thymus Neoplasms* / surgery