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: 3.45). 02/2012; 60(3):437-42. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2559.2011.04111.x
Source: PubMed


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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    • "It is well observed that patients with thymomas have a tendency to develop second malignancies, predominantly AB thymomas [10]. In our study, five of group 1 (type AB) and one of group 2 (B2) were associated with second malignancies. "
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    ABSTRACT: Histologic classification of thymomas has significant limitations with respect to both subtype definitions and consistency. In order to better understand the biology of the disease processes, we performed whole genome gene expression analysis. RNA was extracted from fresh frozen tumors from 34 patients with thymomas and followup data was available. Using the Illumina BeadStudio® platform and Human Ref-8 Beadchip, gene expression data was analyzed with Partek Genomics Suite®, and Ingenuity Pathways Analysis (IPA). Unsupervised clustering of gene expression data, representing one of the largest series in literature, resulted in identification of four molecular clusters of tumors (C1-C4), which correlated with histology (P = 0.002). However, neither histology nor clusters correlated with clinical outcomes. Correlation of gene expression data with clinical data showed that a number of genes were associated with either advanced stage at diagnosis or development of recurrence or metastases. The top pathways associated with metastases were amino acid metabolisms, biosynthesis of steroids and glycosphingolipids, cell cycle checkpoint proteins and Notch signaling. The differential expression of some of the top genes related to both metastases and stage was confirmed by RT-PCR in all cases of metastases and matched nonmetastatic cases. A number of potential candidates for therapeutics were also identified.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Although the management of thymomas has been extensively evaluated, the value of prognostic factors in the outcome of these patients remains unclear. The medical records of all patients who underwent resection of thymoma between January 1985 and September 2010 at a single thoracic unit were reviewed. Patients were followed up with reference to disease recurrence and development of additional malignancies (AM).Total thymectomy was performed in all 68 cases. Mean follow-up time was four years. Mean survival was 63.9 months. Mean disease-free interval was 13 months. Factors affecting prognosis were Masaoka staging and WHO histological sub-type. Patients with thymomas had a higher risk of developing AM when compared with a control population of individuals with other tumours (p = 0.0002). Among thymomas, the cortical subtype was associated with a higher risk of AM (p = 0.047) and mortality (p = 0.001). This data confirms that Masaoka staging and WHO histologic sub-type are the most important prognostic factors in patients with thymoma. Moreover, thymomas predominantly arising from the thymic cortex are associated with a higher risk of developing other malignancies and with poorer survival. The cortical origin of thymoma could therefore be considered as a significant prognostic factor.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Scottish medical journal