Early-stage thymic carcinoma: is adjuvant therapy required?
Although the prognosis of advanced thymic carconoma remains poor, previous reports have shown survival rates of 70% to 100% in patients with Masaoka stage I or stage II of the disease who were treated with surgery followed by adjuvant therapy. However, the role of adjuvant therapy in these stages is controversial. We retrospectively evaluated the outcome of 4 patients with Masaoka stage II thymic carcinoma who were treated with surgery alone between 1992 and 2008. No patient had stage I of the disease. Primary tumors were preoperatively evaluated by chest X-ray and computed tomography. Needle biopsy was not performed because the tumors were clinically diagnosed as noninvasive thymomas. The largest diameter of the primary tumor was 65 mm. Mediastinal lymphadenopathy was not detected by computed tomography. All patients underwent transsternal thymectomy. Mediastinal lymph node dissection was not performed. None of the patients received adjuvant chemotherapy and/or irradiation. Histopathologic examination revealed squamous cell carcinoma in 3 patients and undifferentiated carcinoma in one. Pathologic invasion to the adjacent organs or lymph node metastasis was not detected. All patients were alive and free from relapse at a follow-up of 72 months (range, 12-167 months). Radical resection without adjuvant therapy could be a treatment option for early Masaoka stage thymic carcinoma with low-grade histology.