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Surgical treatment of thymoma. Personal experience

Clinical Article, 318 - 323
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Abstract
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Introduction. Thymomas (THs) are rare epithelial tumors of the thymus gland. In this study we report our personal experience in the management and surgical treatment of THs.
Case reports. We report two clinical cases treated with combined therapy (surgery followed by adjuvant therapy).
Results. Total transternal thymectomy was performed in both patients. The post-operative course was uneventful. The patients received adjuvant radiotherapy and chemotherapy. No relapse has been observed during follow-up.
Discussion. THs are usually slowly growing tumors with similar incidence in both sexes. They occur through a wide age range, with a peak in the fifth and sixth decades. Distinctive features reminiscent of the normal thymus make the pathologic diagnosis of THs easy in most cases. Malignant behaviour is indicated by microscopic or macroscopic invasion of the tumor capsule or surrounding organs or by the presence of metastases. Although there is no standardized staging system for thymoma, the one proposed by Masaoka is commonly employed. Total thymectomy is the procedure of choice, even for encapsulated tumors, with carefully exploration of the mediastinum for evidence of ectopic thymic tissue or local invasion.
Conclusions. Despite an indolent course and a cytologically bland appearance, all thymic tumors can manifest a malignant behavior. Surgery continues to be the mainstay of treatment, and the ability to achieve complete resection seems to be the most important prognostic factor. Multimodality treatment involving postoperative chemotherapy and radiotherapy appears to increase the rate of complete resection and improves survival in advanced THs.

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