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J Thorac Oncol. 2009 Jul;4(7):911-9.

The management of thymoma: a systematic review and practice guideline.

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Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario at Kingston General Hospital, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.



Thymoma is a rare tumor for which there is little randomized evidence to guide treatment. Because of the lack of high-quality evidence, a formal consensus-based approach was used to develop recommendations on treatment.


A systematic refview of the literature was performed. Recommendations were formed from available evidence and developed through a two-round modified Delphi consensus approach.


The treatment recommendations are summarized as follows: Stage I--complete resection of the entire thymus without neoadjuvant or adjuvant therapy. Stage II--complete resection of the entire thymus with consideration of adjuvant radiation for high-risk tumors. Stage IIIA--surgery either initially or after neoadjuvant therapy, or surgery followed by adjuvant therapy. Stage IIIB--treatment may include a combination of chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery, or if technically possible, surgery in combination with chemoradiotherapy (concurrent cisplatin based). For bulky tumors, consideration should be given to sequential chemotherapy followed by radiation. Stage IVA--as per stage III, with surgery only if metastases can be resected. Stage IVB--treatment on an individual case basis (no generic recommendations). Recurrent disease--consider surgery, radiation, and/or chemoradiation. Chemoradiation should be considered in all medically inoperable and technically inoperable patients.


Consensus was achieved on these recommendations, which serve to provide practical guidance to the physician treating this rare disease.

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