Article Abstract

Extended resections of large thymomas: importance of en bloc thymectomy

Authors: José Francisco Corona-Cruz, Raúl Alejandro López-Saucedo, Laura Alejandra Ramírez-Tirado, Delia Pérez-Montiel, Josué Andrés González-Luna, Edgardo Jiménez-Fuentes, Oscar Arrieta


Background: Primary tumors of the thymus are rare; the most common histologic type is thymoma. Most important prognostic factors are anatomical extent of tumor and completeness of surgical resection. Large size has not been directly associated with survival, but is strongly associated with advanced disease and high rates of incomplete resections.
Methods: A retrospective cohort of patients who underwent thymectomy for thymomas of 5 cm or larger at the National Cancer Institute (INCan) of México from January 2005 to December 2016 was analyzed. Primary end-points were rate of complete resection, morbidity and mortality of thymectomy. Secondary end-points were overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS).
Results: A total of 25 patients were identified and included in the final analysis. Mean age was 56.6 years (27–82 years). Median size of thymoma was 8.3 cm (5–14 cm). Transesternal approach was used in 72% of cases, most of cases (68%) required an extended resection to achieve negative margins. Complete resection was achieved on 23 cases (92%). A 90-day morbidity of 24% and mortality of 8% was found, with a median follow-up of 34.5 months (1–113 months). The only factor associated with OS was completeness of surgical resection (P<0.0001).
Conclusions: Size of thymomas should not be considered as a contraindication for surgical treatment. Our data suggest that extended surgery is feasible even in advanced cases and provides the best chance for cure. Complete resection remains as one of the most important prognostic factor in thymomas and is associated with prolonged DFS and OS.