Radiotherapy for thymic epithelial tumours: a review

Journal Paper/Review - Apr 1, 2021


Süveg K, Putora P, Jörger M, Iseli T, Fischer G, Ammann K, Glatzer M. Radiotherapy for thymic epithelial tumours: a review. Transl Lung Cancer Res 2021; 10:2088-2100.
Journal Paper/Review (English)
Transl Lung Cancer Res 2021; 10
Publication Date
Apr 1, 2021
Issn Print
Brief description/objective

Thymic epithelial tumours (TETs) represent a rare disease, yet they are the most common tumours of the anterior mediastinum. Due to the rare occurrence of TETs, evidence on optimal treatment is limited. Surgery is the treatment of choice in the management of TETs, while the role of postoperative radiotherapy (PORT) remains unresolved. PORT remains debated for thymomas, especially in completely resected stage II tumours, for which PORT may be more likely to benefit in the presence of aggressive histology (WHO subtype B2, B3) or extensive transcapsular invasion (Masaoka-Koga stage IIB). For stage III thymoma, evidence suggests an overall survival (OS) benefit for PORT after complete resection. For incompletely resected thymomas stage II or higher PORT is recommended. Thymic carcinomas at any stage with positive resection margins should be offered PORT. Radiotherapy plays an important role in the management of unresectable locally advanced TETs. Induction therapy (chemotherapy or chemoradiation) followed by surgery may be useful for locally advanced thymic malignancies initially considered as unresectable. Chemotherapy only is offered in patients with unresectable, metastatic tumours in palliative intent, checkpoint inhibitors may be promising for refractory diseases. Due to the lack of high-level evidence and the importance of a multidisciplinary approach, TETs should be discussed within a multidisciplinary team and the final recommendation should reflect individual patient preferences.