Background: Thymic epithelial tumours (thymoma and carcinoma) are exceptionally rare in children. We describe a national multicentre series with a view to illustrating their clinical behaviour and the results of treatment. Methods. From January 2000 all patients under 18 years of age diagnosed with "rare paediatric tumours" were centrally registered by the Italian centres participating in the TREP project (Tumori Rari in Et Pediatrica [Rare Tumours in Paediatric Age]). The clinical data of children with a thymic epithelial tumour registered as at December 2009 were analyzed for the purposes of the present study. Results: Our series comprised 4 patients with thymoma and 5 with carcinoma (4 males, 5 females; median age 12.4 years). The tumour masses were mainly large, exceeding 5 cm in largest diameter. Based on the Masaoka staging system, 3 patients were stage I, 1 was stage III, 1 was stage IVa and 4 were stage IVb. All 3 patients with stage I thymoma underwent complete tumour resection at diagnosis and were alive 22, 35 and 93 months after surgery. One patient with a thymoma metastasizing to the kidneys died rapidly due to respiratory failure. Thymic carcinomas were much more aggressive, infiltrating nearby organs (in 4 cases) and regional nodes (in 5), and spreading to the bone (in 3) and liver (in 1). All patients received multidrug chemotherapy (platinum derivatives + etoposide or other drugs) with evidence of tumour reduction in 3 cases. Two patients underwent partial tumour resection (after chemo-radiotherapy in one case) and 4 patients were given radiotherapy (45-54 Gy). All patients died of their disease. Conclusions: Children with thymomas completely resected at diagnosis have an excellent prognosis while thymic carcinomas behave aggressively and carry a poor prognosis despite multimodal treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)