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Ann Thorac Surg. 2005 Jun;79(6):1840-4.

Advanced stage thymomas and thymic carcinomas: results of multimodality treatments.

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Division of Thoracic Surgery, Cardiac and Thoracic Department, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.



With the aim of evaluating the results of multidisciplinary approaches, we reviewed our experience in multimodality treatment of advanced stage (III and IVA) thymic tumors.


From 1976 to 2003, 56 patients with Masaoka stage III and IVA thymic tumors underwent a multimodality treatment. Thirty-six patients underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy, surgery, and postoperative radiotherapy; 20 patients were treated by primary surgery and postoperative radiotherapy (n = 12), chemotherapy (n = 1) or chemoradiotherapy (n = 7). The neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy consisted of three courses of cisplatin, epidoxorubicin, and etoposide every 3 weeks. Adjuvant radiotherapy consisted of 45 Gy for complete resections or 60 Gy for incomplete resections.


The preoperative diagnosis of invasive thymomas was performed in a total of 29 cases: 15 by mediastinotomy, 6 by video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, and 8 by fine-needle aspiration. In 27 cases no diagnosis was available, but in most of them a thymus-related syndrome was present. Thirty-four patients are still alive (31 disease-free), and 22 have died (2 disease-free). Ten-year survival was 48% and 45.7% for stage III and IVA thymomas, respectively. The presence of myasthenia gravis (p = 0.04) and neoadjuvant chemotherapy (p = 0.004) affected survival significantly.


The multimodality treatment of stage III and IVA thymic tumors allows a good long-term outcome; the neoadjuvant chemotherapy improves the resectability rate and the survival of both stages of the disease.

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