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Thymoma and thymic carcinoma. Relation of thymoma epithelial cells to the cortical and medullary differentiation of thymus.


Based on the light microscopical features of normal thymic epithelial cells, human thymoma was divided in different types, namely cortical, medullary, and mixed ones, according to the epithelial cell (EC) type. Lymphoid cell populations with morphological features of either cortical or medullary thymocytes were found according to different types of EC in thymoma. The histological variation of the different types of thymoma are demonstrated. In a retrospective study of 58 thymomas and 13 thymic carcinomas, malignant invasive character as well as the occurrence of myasthenia gravis were both found to be related to the neoplastic proliferation of the cortical epithelial cells, whereas in the usual mixed type of thymoma and the medullary type no gross invasion or metastases were noticed. These results are discussed in view of recent concepts and immunological findings of thymus microarchitecture.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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