Objective: Differentiation of invasive thymoma from thymic carcinoma is important because of their different clinical behaviors. Retrospectively, we evaluated the CT findings of invasive thymomas and thymic carcinomas to determine the differential points between them. Materials and Methods: We reviewed the CT scans of 12 patients with invasive thymoma and 10 patients with thymic carcinoma that were confirmed by surgery or percutaneous needle aspiration. We analyzed CT scans, paying special attention to homogeneity, attenuation, invasion of adjacent mediastinal structures, pleural implants, mediastinal nodes, and extramediastinal metastases. Results: Most of the invasive thymomas and thymic carcinomas were homogeneous and isodense with chest wall muscle. Irregular infiltration into the adjacent organ suggesting invasion was seen in 11 patients (92%) with invasive thymoma and 8 patients (80%) with thymic carcinoma. Pleural implants were observed in four patients (33%) with invasive thymoma and one patient (10%) with thymic carcinoma. Mediastinal lymphadenopathy was seen in one patient (8%) with invasive thymoma and four patients (40%) with thymic carcinoma. Metastases to the lung, adrenal glands, or liver were observed in four patients (40%) with thymic carcinoma but none with invasive thymoma. Conclusion: Despite the similarities of CT findings between invasive thymoma and thymic carcinoma, there are some differential points. Thymic carcinomas were infiltrating tumor and were more commonly associated with mediastinal nodes and extrathymic metastases, but less commonly associated with pleural implants than invasive thymoma.
- Computed tomography
- Thymus gland, neoplasms
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging