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Oncology. 2006;70(5):325-9. Epub 2006 Dec 12.

Persistent and aggressive treatment for thymic carcinoma. Results of a single-institute experience with 25 patients.

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  • 1Department of Thoracic Oncology, Kyushu Cancer Center, Fukuoka, Japan.



The aim of this study is to retrospectively evaluate the role of several therapies, mainly chemotherapy, for thymic carcinoma (TC).


From July 1973 to July 2005, 25 patients (15 males and 10 females) with histologically proven TC were treated at our department. The median age of the patients was 59 years, with a range of from 30 to 78 years. According to Masaoka's staging system, there was 1 stage I patient, 3 stage II, 7 stage III, 6 stage IVa, and 8 stage IVb patients. The histological subtype was in all cases squamous cell carcinoma, nonkeratinizing type.


There were 6 complete surgical resections, 1 incomplete resection followed by chemoradiotherapy, 6 with radiotherapy alone, 3 with radiotherapy plus chemotherapy, and 9 with chemotherapy alone as the initial treatment. Eighteen patients were administered second-line therapy. The regimen obtaining the best response rate was doublet chemotherapy consisting of carboplatin (CBDCA) and paclitaxel. The median survival time and survival rate at 5 years for the patients excluding surgical cases with stage I/II disease were 32 months and 31%, respectively.


The doublet of CBDCA and paclitaxel thus appears to be a promising regimen for TC and further investigation in a multi-institutional phase II trial is, therefore, strongly called for.

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