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Thymoma and thymic carcinoma are rare tumors. Due to their rarity, no optimal treatment has been determined. We report here on 11 such patients about their background characteristics, treatment strategy and its outcome.


We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients with thymoma and thymic carcinoma treated at our institution, between 1998 and 2011.


There were seven men and four women, with the median age of 56 years (range, 32–72). All thymic epithelial tumors arised in anterior mediastinum, and the median tumor size was 7 cm (range, 3–10). Two patients showed myasthenia gravis. Clinical symptoms included neck or shoulder pain in three patients, dyspnea in three patients and blepharoptosis in two patients. Histologically, four patients had thymomas, whereas seven had thymic carcinomas, and according to the Masaoka staging, there were three patients with stage III, 6 with IVa and 2 with IVb. Four patients underwent primary surgery followed by adjuvant therapy consisting of radiotherapy (n = 3) or chemotherapy (n = 1). Nine patients with advanced or relapsed disease were treated with combination chemotherapy including cisplatin. One patient achieved complete response and four had partial response. One patient progressed on therapy. Two of four thymoma patients are still alive, whereas two have died because of other diseases. The median survival time of seven thymic carcinoma were 533 days (range 219–2302), and three patients survived over 3 years.


We conducted a retrospective review of 11 cases of thymoma and thymic carcinomas and experienced three long-term survivors in thymic carcinoma. It suggests that the combination of surgery, irradiation and/or chemotherapy could contribute to a long-term survival in some patients of thymic carcinoma.

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