Pleural "drop metastases" 21 years after resection of a thymoma

Chia Chun Chiang, Angela M. Parsons, J. Scott Kriegshauser, Harshita Paripati, Matthew A. Zarka, A. Arturo Leis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: We describe an unusual case of pleural drop metastases 21 years after complete resection of an encapsulated thymoma in a Southeast Asian patient with myasthenia gravis (MG). Methods: This investigation includes a case report and brief review of the literature. Results: The patient presented in 2015 with generalized weakness, fatigue, and shortness of breath, but no diplopia, ptosis, dysphagia, or dysarthria. Because these symptoms were atypical for an MG exacerbation, a de-novo work-up was performed. Chest computed tomography (CT) showed numerous pleural nodules ("drop metastases"), and CT-guided biopsy revealed metastatic thymoma. Conclusions: The average disease-free interval for thymoma ranges from 68 to 86 months. Pleural and mediastinal recurrence are more common than distant hematogenous recurrence. Adverse prognostic factors include an initial higher Masaoka stage, incomplete resection, older age, and pleural or pericardial involvement. Despite apparent complete resection of thymoma, clinicians should remain vigilant for recurrence for as long as 20 years after initial management. Long-term follow-up with radiologic surveillance is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMuscle and Nerve
StateAccepted/In press - 2017


  • Disease surveillance
  • Disease-free survival
  • Drop metastases
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Recurrence
  • Thymoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology (medical)


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