Pathology of the Pleura and Mediastinum

2018 Edition
| Editors: Timothy Craig Allen, Saul Suster

Primary Thymic Epithelial Neoplasms

  • Saul SusterEmail author
Reference work entry


Thymic carcinoma; Thymoma


Primary thymic epithelial neoplasms are defined as tumors that arise from neoplastic transformation of thymic epithelial cells and encompass a wide spectrum of primary thymic neoplasms that may range from very low-grade to highly aggressive malignant tumors.

The concept that this family of tumors represents a closely related spectrum of lesions that shares a common progenitor cell is supported by the occurrence of transitions and transformations of low-grade thymic epithelial neoplasms into higher-grade tumors both in primary lesions and at metastatic sites.

The low-grade end of the spectrum for these tumors has traditionally been designated as thymoma; the high-grade end of the spectrum has been traditionally placed into a separate clinical category and designated by convention as thymic carcinoma. In recent years, it has become increasingly recognized that tumors showing borderline clinical and pathological features between these two ends...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Marchevski, A. M., Suster, S., & Wick, M. R. (2014). Low-grade and intermediate-grade malignant epithelial tumors of the thymus: Thymomas. In A. M. Marchevsky & M. R. Wick (Eds.), Pathology of the mediastinum (pp. 65–103). Cambridge: Cambridge Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Pescarmona, E., Rendina, E. A., & Venuta, F. (1995). Recurrent thymoma: Evidence for histological progression. Histopathology, 27, 445–449.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Suster, S., & Moran, C. A. (1996). Primary thymic epithelial neoplasms with combined features of thymoma and thymic carcinoma. A clinicopathologic study of 22 cases. American Journal of Surgical Pathology, 20, 1469–1480.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Suster, S., & Moran, C. A. (1999a). Thymoma, atypical thymoma, and thymic carcinoma. A novel conceptual approach to the classification of neoplasms of thymic epithelium. American Journal of Clinical Pathology, 111, 826–833.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Suster, S., & Moran, C. A. (1999b). Primary thymic epithelial neoplasms. Spectrum of differentiation and histologic features. Seminars in Diagnostic Pathology, 16, 2–17.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Suster, S., & Moran, C. A. (2005). Problem areas and inconsistencies in the WHO classification of thymoma. Seminars in Diagnostic Pathology, 22, 198–212.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Suster, S., & Moran, C. A. (2008). Histologic classification of thymoma: The World Health Organization and beyond. Hematology Oncology Clincs of North America, 22, 381–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Suster, S., & Moran, C. A. (2009). The mediastinum, chapter 17. In N. Weidner, R. Cote, S. Suster, & L. M. Weiss (Eds.), Modern pathology (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: Saunders-Elsevier, p 455.Google Scholar
  9. Travis, W. D., Brambilla, E., Burke, A. P., Marx, A., & Nicholson, A. G. (2015). WHO classification of tumors of the lung, pleura, thymus and heart. Lyon: IARC Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PathologyMedical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA