Thymomas, tumors that arise from epithelial cells of the thymus gland, are the most common neoplasms of the anterior mediastinum, with an incidence rate of approximately 2.5 per million/year. Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte Antigen 4 (CTLA-4 or CD152) exerts inhibitory activity on T cells, and since its oncogenic role in the progression of different types of tumors, it has emerged as a potential therapeutic target in cancer patients. In this study, we assessed the expression of CTLA-4 both at mRNA and protein levels in paraffin embedded-tissues from patients with thymomas. Furthermore, we evaluated the relationship between CTLA-4 expression and the clinical-pathologic characteristics and prognosis in patients with thymomas. Sixty-eight patients with median age corresponding to 62 years were included in this analysis. Thymomas were classified accordingly to the WHO and Masaoka-Koga for histochemical analysis and for prognostic significance. A statistical difference was found between CTLA-4 mRNA levels in human normal thymus compared with thymoma specimens. CTLA-4 expression was statistically found to progressively increase in A, B1, B2, AB and it was maximal in B3 thymomas. According to Masaoka-Koga pathological classification, CTLA-4 expression was lower in I, IIA and IIB, and higher in invasive III and IV stages. By confocal microscopy analysis we identified the expression of CTLA-4 both in tumor cells and in CD45+ tumor-infiltrating leukocytes, mainly in B3 and AB thymomas. Finally, CTLA-4 overexpression significantly correlates with reduced overall survival in thymoma patients and in atypical thymoma subgroup, suggesting that it represents a negative prognostic factor.