Efficacy of chest computed tomography prediction of the pathological TNM stage of thymic epithelial tumours

Darin B. White, Megan J. Hora, Sarah M. Jenkins, Randolph S. Marks, Yolanda I. Garces, Stephen D. Cassivi, Anja C. Roden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: The aim of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of chest computed tomography (CT) to predict the pathological stage of thymic epithelial tumours (TET) using the recently introduced tumour, node and metastasis (TNM) staging with comparison to the modified Masaoka staging. Methods: Preoperative chest CT examinations in cases of resected TET with sampled lymph nodes (2006-2016) were retrospectively reviewed by 2 thoracic radiologists and radiologically (r) staged using both staging systems. A thoracic pathologist reviewed all cases for the pathological (p) stage. Concordance between r-staging and p-staging was assessed by % agreement and unweighted kappa statistics. Associations between r-stage and p-stage with outcomes were assessed using the Cox proportional hazards regression. Results: Sixty patients with TET were included (47 thymomas, 12 thymic carcinomas and 1 atypical carcinoid tumour). Sixteen patients (26.7%) had received neoadjuvant therapy. Fifty-four patients (90.0%) had complete resection. The overall agreement between the r-stage and p-stage was 66.7% (κ = 0.46) for TNM staging and 46.7% (κ = 0.30) for modified Masaoka staging. Agreement between r-assessment and p-assessment of the T, N and M components of the TNM stage was 61.7% (κ = 0.28), 86.7% (κ = 0.48) and 98.3% (κ = 0.88), respectively. CT overstaged 12 patients (20.0%) for TNM staging and 12 patients (20.0%) for modified Masaoka staging and understaged 8 (13.3%) and 20 (33.3%) patients for TNM staging modified Masaoka staging, respectively. The r-TNM staging accuracy was lower for patients with neoadjuvant therapy (50.0% with vs 72.7% without). During a median follow-up of 2.6 years (range 0.1-10.5 years), 12 patients had metastases and/or recurrence; 11 patients died (4 of disease). The r-TNM stage and modified Masaoka stage were associated with overall survival and progression-free survival (P < 0.001). Conclusions: Preoperative chest CT is able to accurately predict p-TNM stage in two-thirds of surgically resected TET, with an agreement between radiological staging and pathological staging superior to the modified Masaoka staging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-293
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019


  • Computed tomography
  • Masaoka-Koga stage
  • Thymic carcinoma
  • Thymoma
  • Tumour node and metastasis stage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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