Indexed on: 20 Sep '02Published on: 20 Sep '02Published in: AJR. American journal of roentgenology
Our purpose was to assess the CT features of various subtypes of thymic epithelial neoplasms on the basis of the 1999 World Health Organization classification.Thymic epithelial neoplasms in 53 patients who underwent thymectomy were retrospectively assessed histologically according to the 1999 World Health Organization classification. Type A and B neoplasms correspond to thymomas and type C, to thymic carcinoma. The study included four patients with type A, 14 with type AB, nine with type B1, 14 with type B2, four with type B3, and eight with type C epithelial tumors. Two observers independently assessed the CT scans without knowledge of the histologic findings.Type A tumors were more likely to have smooth contours on CT (4/4, 100%) and round shapes (3.5/4, 88%) than any other type of thymic epithelial tumor (all, p < 0.05). Type C tumors had a higher prevalence of irregular contours (6/8, 75%) than any other type of thymic epithelial tumor (all, p < 0.05). Calcification was more frequently seen in type B1 (4/9, 44%), type B2 (8.5/14, 61%), and type B3 (3/4, 75%) tumors than in type AB (2/14, 14%) and type C (0.5/8, 6%) tumors (all, p < 0.05).Smooth contours and a round shape are most suggestive of type A thymic epithelial tumor, whereas irregular contours are most suggestive of type C tumor. Calcification is suggestive of type B tumors. CT is of limited value, however, in differentiating type AB, B1, B2, and B3 tumors.