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Jpn J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2000 Feb;48(2):89-95.

Results from surgical treatment for thymoma. 43 years of experience.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Japan.



The biological behavior of thymoma and its prognosis after surgical intervention remain still controversial. The efficacy of surgical treatment for thymoma was investigated by examining long-term follow-up data.


Follow-up data for patients undergoing surgical resection of histopathologically-confirmed thymoma between 1954 and 1997 were obtained and were retrospectively analyzed. Clinical staging was based on Masaoka's staging system, and histological classification on Rosai's proposed criteria.


Data for 140 patients were collected. Sixty-four patients had stage I, 32 had stage II, 28 had stage III, and 16 had stage IV thymoma. There were significant differences in survival between patients with stage I and stage III, stage I and stage IV and stage II and stage III disease, but not between those with stage I thymoma and stage II thymoma. No significant difference in survival was observed between the 56 patients with myasthenia gravis (MG) and the 84 without MG. The 38 patients classified as having a predominantly-epithelial thymoma had a poorer prognosis than the 41 with a predominantly-lymphocytic thymoma. Until 1975, there were four patients with stage I thymomas who later showed recurrence, compared with 21 among those with stage II, III and IV diseases. Since 1976, extended thymectomy with thymomectomy under median sternotomy has been adopted as the standard operation for a thymoma, and there has been no recurrence in stage I patients.


Patients with stage III or IV invasive thymoma have a poorer prognosis and a higher recurrence rate than those with encapsulated thymoma, and patients with a predominantly-epithelial thymoma have a poorer prognosis than those with a predominantly-lymphocytic thymoma. Extended thymectomy with thymomectomy under median sternotomy can be considered as adequate treatment for a stage I thymoma. Myasthenia gravis does not appear to affect the prognosis of patients with a thymoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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