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Ann Thorac Surg. 1991 Jan;51(1):152-6.

Thymoma: results of 241 operated cases.

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Department of Thoracic Surgery, University of Torino, Italy.


Clinical and histopathological aspects of 241 thymomas were reviewed. One hundred sixty of the patients with thymoma had myasthenia gravis and 15 had other autoimmune diseases; 55% of the thymomas were encapsulated and 45% invasive. Operation was radical resection in 87.5% of the patients, subtotal resection with residual tumor in 8.7%, and simple biopsy in 3.7%. A tumor relapse was observed in 24 patients (10%): 2 (1.5%) of 133 with encapsulated thymomas and 22 (20.4%) of 108 with invasive thymomas; among these patients, a relapse was found in 20.6% of the patients who received radiotherapy postoperatively and in 24.6% who did not. Adverse prognostic factors were clinical stage IVa (multiple pleural nodes), not feasible resection (for technical reasons), inoperable tumor relapse, and association with one of the following autoimmune diseases: pure red cell aplasia, hypogammaglobulinemia, and lupus erythematosus. Conversely, myasthenia gravis is now a curable disease; it contributes to early discovery of associated thymoma, thus allowing a better survival for patients with thymoma who have myasthenia gravis compared with patients with thymoma but without myasthenia gravis (p less than 0.05). Postoperative radiotherapy does not seem necessary after removal of encapsulated thymomas, but it is advisable in case of invasive thymomas, regardless of the extent of the resection.

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