Original Article

Incidence and clinical variable inter-relationships of thymic epithelial tumors in northwest China

Xiu-Long Feng, Xue-Bin Lei, Wen-Ting Dong, Lin-Feng Yan, Yong-Kang Xin, Gang-Feng Li, Yong Jing, Shi-Jun Duan, Jie Zhang, Yu-Chuan Hu, Bo Li, Sha-Sha Zhao, Qian Sun, Jin Zhang, Tao Zhang, Dong-Liang Cheng, Guang-Bin Cui, Wen Wang


Background: Thymic epithelial tumors (TETs) are the most common primary thymus tumors, but neither the possible ethnical/regional differences in the incidence of TETs nor the inter-relationships among the clinical variables has been revealed in northwest China.
Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed among pathologically confirmed TET patients from January 2004 to December 2015 in a tertiary general hospital of northwest China and the incidence, clinical features and the inter-relationships among clinical variables were analyzed.
Results: A total of 603 pathologically confirmed TETs patients (age range, 5–78 years; 308 males) were enrolled and the most common lesion location was anterior mediastinum (98.5%), among them, 192 (31.8%) had myasthenia gravis (MG). Twenty-six (5.7%), 112 (24.6%), 83 (18.2%), 137 (30.1%), 74 (16.3%), and 23 (5.1%) patients fell into the World Health Organization (WHO) type A, AB, B1, B2, B3 and thymic carcinoma (TC), respectively. The incidence of TETs was slightly higher in the female population and the age group of 40–60 years old. In addition, MG predominantly coexisted with WHO types A–B3 TETs and the TETs with MG were smaller than those without MG. The correct diagnosis rates were 42.3% (77 out of 182), 61.1% (127 out of 208), 89.3% (250 out of 280) and 75.0% (3 out of 4) for chest X-ray, non-contrast computed tomography (CT), contrast CT scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), respectively.
Conclusions: Distinct gender and age differences exist in the incidence of TETs and the A–B3 TETs are closely related with MG. Contrast CT scan plays more important role in diagnosing TETs.

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