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J Thorac Oncol. 2014 Oct;9(10):1573-8. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0000000000000269.

Development of the international thymic malignancy interest group international database: an unprecedented resource for the study of a rare group of tumors.

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Departments of *Surgery and †Pathology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York; ‡Department of Surgery, §Yale Center of Analytical Science, and ‖Department of Thoracic Surgery, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut; ¶Department of Research Computing, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana; #Department of Thoracic Surgery, Shanghai Chest Hospital, Shanghai, China; Departments of **Radiation Oncology and ††Diagnostic Radiology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas; ‡‡Department of Internal Medicine, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana; §§Department of Thoracic Surgery, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy; ‖‖Department of Histopathology, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK; ¶¶Department of Thoracic Surgery, University of Torino, Torino, Italy; ##Department of Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, University Hospital of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium; and ***Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California.

Erratum in

  • J Thorac Oncol. 2014 Dec;9(12):1804.



Our knowledge of thymic malignancies has largely been derived from small, single-institution series. Recognition of the need for broad collaboration led to the creation of the International Thymic Malignancy Interest Group (ITMIG) and the development of a large, centralized database to advance knowledge of these rare tumors.


A multidisciplinary Database Committee was convened to define a common set of data elements a priori. Retrospective data were solicited from ITMIG members and collated using standardized fields. Patients with thymoma, thymic carcinoma, or thymic carcinoid were included.


Over a 6-month period, 47 institutions spanning 15 countries contributed a total of 6097 cases (mean, 129 [range, 10-1209]). The sex distribution was equal for thymomas, but there was a greater proportion of men with thymic carcinoma and thymic carcinoid (p < 0.0001). Nearly all cases (99%) were treated surgically. WHO type B2 was the most frequent histologic classification among thymomas, whereas squamous was the most common among thymic carcinomas. In total, 38% of patients with thymoma had myasthenia gravis compared with less than or equal to 5% for thymic carcinoma and thymic carcinoid. Median overall survival was 18.9 years (95% confidence interval [CI], 17.4-20.3) for thymoma, 6.8 years (95% CI, 5.5-7.9) for thymic carcinoma, and 7.5 years (95% CI, 6.5-8.5) for thymic carcinoid.


The rapid creation of the ITMIG database demonstrates the feasibility of international collaboration for this rare set of malignancies and attests to the engagement of its membership. This database represents the largest collective data set ever assembled and provides an unprecedented resource for research of these tumors.

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