Original Article

Thymectomy versus tumor resection for early-stage thymic malignancies: a Chinese Alliance for Research in Thymomas (ChART) retrospective database analysis

Zhitao Gu, Jianhua Fu, Yi Shen, Yucheng Wei, Lijie Tan, Peng Zhang, Yongtao Han, Chun Chen, Renquan Zhang, Yin Li, Keneng Chen, Hezhong Chen, Yongyu Liu, Youbing Cui, Yun Wang, Liewen Pang, Zhentao Yu, Xinming Zhou, Yangchun Liu, Yuan Liu, Wentao Fang, Members of the Chinese Alliance for Research in Thymomas


Background: To evaluate the surgical outcomes of tumor resection with or without total thymectomy for thymic epithelial tumors (TETs) using the Chinese Alliance for Research in Thymomas (ChART) retrospective database.
Methods: Patients without preoperative therapy, who underwent surgery for early-stage (Masaoka-Koga stage I and II) tumors, were enrolled for the study. They were divided into thymectomy and thymomectomy groups according to the resection extent of the thymus. Demographic and surgical outcomes were compared between the two patients groups.
Results: A total of 1,047 patients were enrolled, with 796 cases in the thymectomy group and 251 cases in the thymomectomy group. Improvement rate of myasthenia gravis (MG) was higher after thymectomy than after thymomectomy (91.6% vs. 50.0%, P<0.001). Ten-year overall survival was similar between the two groups (90.9% after thymectomy and 89.4% after thymomectomy, P=0.732). Overall, recurrence rate was 3.1% after thymectomy and 5.4% after thymomectomy, with no significant difference between the two groups (P=0.149). Stratified analysis revealed no significant difference in recurrence rates in Masaoka–Koga stage I tumors (3.2% vs. 1.4%, P=0.259). However in patients with Masaoka-Koga stage II tumors, recurrence was significantly less after thymectomy group than after thymomectomy (2.9% vs. 14.5%, P=0.001).
Conclusions: Thymectomy, instead of tumor resection alone, should still be recommended as the surgical standard for thymic malignancies, especially for stage II tumors and those with concomitant MG.

Download Citation