Relationship Between Computed Tomography Manifestations of Thymic Epithelial Tumors and the WHO Pathological Classification

  • Liu, Guo-Bing (Department of Radiology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University) ;
  • Qu, Yan-Juan (Department of Radiology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University) ;
  • Liao, Mei-Yan (Department of Radiology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University) ;
  • Hu, Hui-Juan (Department of Radiology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University) ;
  • Yang, Gui-Fang (Department of Pathology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University) ;
  • Zhou, Su-Jun (Department of Radiology, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University)
  • Published : 2012.11.30


Objective: To explore the relationship between computed tomography (CT) manifestations of thymoma and its WHO pathological classification. Methods: One hundred and five histopathologically confirmed cases were collected for their pathological and CT characteristics and results were statistically compared between different pathological types of thymoma. Results: Tumor size, shape, necrosis or cystic change, capsule integrity, invasion to the adjacent tissue, lymphadenopathy, and the presence of pleural effusion were significantly different between different pathological types of thymomas (P<0.05). Type B2, B3 tumors and thymic carcinomas were greater in size than other types. More than 50% of type B3 tumors and thymic carcinomas had a tumor size greater than 10 cm. The shape of types A, AB, and B1 tumors were mostly round or oval, whereas 75% of type B3 tumors and 85% of thymic carcinomas were irregular in shape. Necrosis or cystic change occurred in 67% of type B3 thymomas and 57% of thymic carcinomas, respectively. The respective figures for capsule destruction were 83% and 100%. Increases in the degree of malignancy were associated with increases in the incidence of surrounding tissue invasion: 33%, 75%, and 81% in type B2, type B3, and thymic carcinomas, respectively. Pleural effusion occurred in 48% of thymic carcinomas, while calcification was observed mostly in type B thymomas. Conclusions: Different pathological types of thymic epithelial tumors have different CT manifestations. Distinctive CT features of thymomas may reflect their pathological types.


Supported by : Natural Science Foundation of Hubei Province


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