European Spine Journal

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 1520–1528 | Cite as

Treatments and outcomes of spinal metastasis from thymic epithelial tumors: 10-year experience with 15 patients in a single center

  • Qi Jia
  • Jian Yang
  • Jinbo Hu
  • Tielong Liu
  • Cheng Yang
  • Haifeng WeiEmail author
  • Xinghai YangEmail author
  • Jianru XiaoEmail author
Original Article



Although thymic epithelial tumors (TETs) are rare, their spinal metastases are even rarer, and they have only been described in a few case reports. The aim of the present study is to discuss the possible treatments and outcomes of patients with spinal metastasis from TETs.


Included in this retrospective study were 15 patients with metastasis of TETs who received either radical or debulking surgery plus radiochemotherapy as adjuvant therapy in our center between 2007 and 2017. Possible prognostic factors for progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were analyzed by log-rank analysis.


Our series comprised seven men and eight women, with a median age of 52 years. The period from the primary diagnosis to spinal metastasis varied from 0 to 16 months. The metastatic lesions were mainly located in the thoracic spine (n = 11; 73.3%), followed by the cervical and lumbar spine (n = 2; 13.3%, respectively). The median follow-up period was 28 months. Local tumor progression was detected in four patients (26.7%), and seven patients (46.7%) died of the disease during the follow-up period. Log-rank analysis indicated that radical resection was associated with longer PFS, whereas PFS, response to systemic chemotherapy and WHO B1–B2 were favorable factors of OS for patients with spinal metastatic TETs.


Radical surgery is associated with longer PFS, while PFS is associated with better OS. Postoperative radiotherapy seems to be a useful supplementary treatment after debulking surgery, and patients who respond to postoperative chemotherapy were demonstrated with greater OS. WHO type B3–C seemed to be an adverse factor for spinal metastasis from TETs.

Graphical abstract

These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material.


Thymic epithelial tumors Spine metastasis Surgery Prognostic factors Adjuvant therapy 



This work was supported by grants from National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC0902100).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author(s) declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical standards

This research was approved by the hospital ethics committee of the hospital, and written informed consent was obtained from patients or their legal guardians.

Supplementary material

586_2019_5982_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (1.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PPTX 1082 kb)
586_2019_5982_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (262 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 262 kb)
586_2019_5982_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (130 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 129 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopedic Oncology, Shanghai Changzheng HospitalSecond Military Medical UniversityShanghaiChina

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