Patients with thymomas have an increased risk of developing additional malignancies: lack of immunological surveillance?

Thoracic Surgery Unit, Department of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, Siena University Hospital, Siena, Italy.
Histopathology (Impact Factor: 3.3). 02/2012; 60(3):437-42. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2559.2011.04111.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To assess the risk, for patients with thymoma, of developing an additional malignancy (AM).
We studied 68 patients with thymomas. Based on the World Health Organization classification, the tumours were categorised as A, AB or B (B1, B2, B3) thymomas. Control populations comprised 114 patients with colorectal cancer, 108 patients with lymphoma and 123 patients with thyroid carcinoma. Patients with thymomas showed a higher risk of developing an AM (22 of 68 patients versus 11 of 114, eight of 108, and eight of 123 patients, respectively; P = 0.0002). The association between thymomas and AMs was related to the thymoma histotype, with B1, B2, B3 and AB tumours showing a higher risk of developing an AM than A thymomas (P = 0.0474).
Patients affected by thymomas showed a significantly higher risk of developing additional malignancies than those in the control groups, and cases that exhibited a predominantly cortical component were more likely to develop other neoplasms. This may be related to the functions of cortical thymic epithelial cells in providing for T lymphocyte maturation through interaction with major histocompatibility complexes.

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