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Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1988 Apr;36(2):109-13.

Epithelial thymus tumors--therapy and prognosis.

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Department of Thoracic, Cardiac and Vascular Surgery, Würzburg University Medical School, FRG.


One hundred and two patients with epithelial thymoma (ET) and carcinoma have undergone surgical treatment since 1957. In this series thymomas were classified according to Masaoka's clinical staging criteria (encapsulated, invasive) and according to Müller-Hermelink's histological criteria of the resected specimens (medullary and cortical differentiation) and compared to clinical symptoms and survival rates (mean follow-up time 66.4 months). We found that it is not always possible to differentiate intraoperatively fibrous adhesions from infiltrations of the thymic capsule or to recognise thymus carcinoma as such macroscopically if they have not already infiltrated the organ's capsule. All ETs with cortical differentiation after thymectomy showed a malignant course; in contrary ETs with medullary differentiation we found without relapses of metastases. ETs with both histological types (hybrid typs) and cortical dominance took in only two out of 57 cases a malignant course though five of them showed an invasion into the capsule according to clinical staging criteria stage II. Therefore classifying ETs only into two categories, encapsulated and invasive, according to surgical and gross findings, seems to be not always possible and insufficient for the clinical assessment of the malignity and prognosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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