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Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 2008 Jun;22(3):393-407. doi: 10.1016/j.hoc.2008.03.002.

Thymic carcinoma: current concepts and histologic features.

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Department of Anatomic Pathology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Thymic carcinoma is a rare tumor that has traditionally posed a significant challenge for diagnosis to clinicians and histopathologists. No reliable histopathologic features have yet been identified that can permit reliable distinction of these tumors from a metastasis to the mediastinum. Histologically, the tumors are characterized by morphologic features that are indistinguishable from those arising from a variety of other epithelial organs. A large number of histologic variants have been described. In general, these tumors remain a diagnosis of exclusion and, as a group, represent high-grade neoplasms with a very aggressive clinical behavior and an often-ominous prognosis.

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