J Chest Surg.  2022 Apr;55(2):126-142. 10.5090/jcs.21.124.

An Overview of Surgical Treatment of Thymic Epithelial Tumors in Korea: A Retrospective Multicenter Analysis

  • 1Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Asan Medical Center, Ulsan University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


Thymic epithelial tumors (TETs) are rare, and information regarding their surgical outcomes and prognostic factors has rapidly changed in the past few decades. We analyzed surgical treatment practices for TETs and outcomes in terms of overall survival (OS) and freedom from recurrence (FFR) during a 13-year period in Korea.
In total, 1,298 patients with surgically resected TETs between 2000 and 2013 were enrolled retrospectively. OS and FFR were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method and evaluated with the log-rank test. Prognostic factors for OS and FFR were analyzed with multivariable Cox regression.
A total of 1,098 patients were diagnosed with thymoma, and 200 patients were diagnosed with thymic carcinoma. Over the study period, the total number of patients with surgically treated TETs and the proportion of patients who underwent minimally invasive thymic surgery (MITS) increased annually. The 5-year and 10-year survival rates of surgically treated TETs were 91.0% and 82.1%, respectively. The 5-year and 10-year recurrence rates were 86.3% and 80.0%, respectively. The outcomes of surgically treated TETs improved over time. Multivariable Cox hazards analysis for OS, age, tumor size, and Masaoka-Koga stage were independent predictors of prognosis. The World Health Organization classification and tumor-node-metastasis (TNM) staging were also related to the prognosis of TETs.
Surgical treatment of TETs achieved a good prognosis with a recent increase in MITS. The M-K stage was the most important prognostic factor for OS and FFR. The new TNM stage could also be an effective predictor of the outcomes of TETs.


Thymic epithelial tumor; Thymectomy; Video-assisted thoracic surgery
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