Multidisciplinary approach for advanced stage thymic tumors: Long-term outcome

Federico Rea, Giuseppe Marulli, Francesco Di Chiara, Marco Schiavon, Egle Perissinotto, Cristiano Breda, Adolfo Gino Favaretto, Fiorella Calabrese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In advanced stage thymic tumors complete surgical resection is not always achievable. Although surgery remains the cornerstone of therapy, there is growing evidence that multimodality treatment increases resectability and reduces the incidence of local and systemic relapses. Methods: Between 1980 and 2008, 75 patients with stages III (n=51), IVA (n=18) and IVB (n=6) thymic tumors were treated. Twenty-six patients had A-AB-B1 and 49 B2-B3-C histotype. Thirty-eight (50.6%) patients considered not radically resectable at preoperative workup, received induction chemotherapy; postoperatively 37 (49.3%) had radiotherapy, 25 (33.3%) chemoradiotherapy and 4 (5.3%) chemotherapy. Results: No perioperative mortality was recorded. Sixty-one (81.3%) had complete resection (CR) and 14 (18.7%) incomplete resection (IR). CR was lower in patients who received induction chemotherapy (73.7% vs 89.2%, p=0.02). In 11 (14.7%) cases a vascular procedure was carried out. Overall 5- and 10-year survivals were 70% and 57%, respectively. Five and 10-year tumor-related survival was 78% and 70%. Ten-year survival was better for CR vs IR resection (62% vs 28%; p=0.003) and for type A-AB-B1 vs B2-B3-C (60% vs 53%; p=0.03). No statistical difference was found between stage III and IV (10-year survival: 63% and 43%; p=0.42) and induction vs no induction chemotherapy (10-year survival: 52% vs 56%; p=0.54). At multivariate analysis CR (p=0.001) and type A-AB-B1 (p=0.04) were independent predictors of better survival. During follow-up, 34.4% of CR developed tumor recurrence. Conclusions: Multimodality treatment of stages III and IV thymic tumors guarantees good disease control and provides high survival and acceptable recurrence rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-72
Number of pages5
JournalLung Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


  • Induction chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Thymic tumors
  • Thymoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cancer Research


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