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Tumours of the thymus
  1. T. Holmes Sellors,
  2. A. C. Thackray,
  3. A. D. Thomson
  1. Bland-Sutton Institute of Pathology, Middlesex Hospital, London, W.1

    A review of 88 operation cases


    Eighty-eight cases of thymoma are discussed with the object of trying to co-ordinate the histological and clinical features. The pathological specimens were in all cases obtained at operation. The pathology classification introduced by Thomson and Thackray in 1957 has been found to correspond adequately with the clinical pattern. The most common groups of tumours are basically epithelial and can be separated into five or six subdivisions, each of which has a separate pattern of behaviour. Lymphoid and teratomatous tumours also occur, but there were only two examples in this series. Clinically, separation of patients who suffered from myasthenia (38) and those who did not (50) affords the first main grouping. The majority of patients who had myasthenia gravis had tumours classified as epidermoid (19) and lymphoepithelial (14), the former with a more malignant appearance and behaviour than the latter. Removal of the tumour with or without radiation gave considerable and sometimes complete relief from myasthenic symptoms. Non-myasthenic thymoma (50) was usually discovered as a result of pressure signs or in the course of routine radiography. Spindle or oval celled tumours followed a benign pattern whereas undifferentiated thymoma was in every sense malignant, as also were teratomatous growths. Granulomatous or Hodgkin-like thymomas were of special interest and had an unpredictable course, some patients surviving many years after what was regarded as inadequate treatment. The place of radiotherapy as a pre- or post-operative agent complementary to surgery is discussed.

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