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Vol.48, No.4, 2014
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Archive-the Korean Journal of Pathology(1967~2008)
Archive-the Korean Journal of Cytopathology(1990~2008)
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  Vol.46, No.3:221-225, June 2012
Original articles
http://dx.doi.org/10.4132/KoreanJPathol.2012.46.3.221
Clinicopathological Analysis of 21 Thymic Neuroendocrine Tumors

Soomin AhnㆍJae Jun LeeㆍSang Yun HaㆍChang Ohk SungㆍJhingook Kim1ㆍJoungho Han

Departments of Pathology and 1Thoracic Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

Background : Thymic neuroendocrine carcinomas (NECs) are uncommon, for which there is no established information available because of a limited number of epidemiological study in Asia.

Methods : We reviewed 21 cases of surgically resected thymic NECs, and evaluated their pathological and clinical features.

Results : It showed male predominance (male/female ratio, 15/6) with wide age range from 20 to 72 years (mean age, 49 years). All 21 cases were divided into two types according to the World Health Organization criteria: atypical carcinoid (n=18) and large cell NEC (n=3). Three cases of atypical carcinoid (AC) were associated with ectopic Cushing’s syndrome. All the patients (3/3) with large cell NEC (3/3) and 16.7% (3/18) of those with AC died of tumor progression. Common sites of metastasis included lung, lymph node, brain, lumbar spine, mediastinum, bone, and liver.

Conclusions : In conclusion, thymic neuroendocrine tumors carry a poor prognosis. Regarding the tumor classification, our results showed that a vast majority of carcinoids in the thymus correspond to ACs. In addition, our results also indicate that typical carcinoid is a very rare entity. Some cases of AC exhibited a large size, solid pattern and they showed aggressive clinical behavior, which highlights the spectrum of histologic appearances of thymic NECs.
Key Words : Thymus gland; Carcinoid tumor; Carcinoma, neuroendocrine

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