BACKGROUND: The impact of myasthenia gravis on patients with thymoma is still controversial when perioperative and long-term outcomes are analyzed. With the unique opportunity of a 35-year follow-up in a single institution, thymomatous myasthenia gravis cohort, we investigated the influence of early and long-term clinical predictors.
METHODS: We reviewed a surgical series of 317 (1972 to 2007) patients with thymoma: clinical and pathologic features were analyzed as prognostic factors matched against the short- and long-term survival and recurrence rates.
RESULTS: Male to female ratio was 153:164; median age, 49 years. Myasthenia gravis coexisted in 276 patients (87.1%). Thymomas were classified according to the Masaoka (42.0% stage I, 32.2% stage II, 21.5% stage III, and 4.4% stage IV) and the World Health Organization (3.5% type A, 9.5% type AB, 19.2% type B1, 57.7% type B2, 8.2% type B3, and 1.9% thymic carcinoma) staging systems. The resection was complete in 295 patients (93.1%). Operative mortality and morbidity were respectively 1.6% and 7.6%. No differences were recorded in postoperative outcome stratifying for myasthenia gravis or comorbidities. Mean follow-up was 144.7 +/- 104.4 months. The overall 5-, 10-, 20-, and 30-year survival rates were 89.9%, 84.1%, 73%, and 58.6%, respectively. The completeness of resection (p < 0.001), the Masaoka staging (p = 0.010), and the World Health Organization classification (p < 0.001) all significantly influenced the long-term survival (univariate analysis). Only completeness of resection was significantly correlated with a better prognosis (p < 0.001) in multivariate analysis. Masaoka staging (p < 0.001) and World Health Organization classification (p < 0.001) significantly correlated with the disease-free survival in the univariate and multivariate analyses as significant prognostic factors (Masaoka, p < 0.001; World Health Organization, p = 0.011). Myasthenia gravis patients showed a better prognosis in terms of long-term survival (p = 0.046) and disease-free survival (p = 0.012) in the univariate analysis.
CONCLUSIONS: We confirm the evidence that the clinical staging and the histologic classification influence long-term survival. The presence of myasthenia gravis was not significantly related to operative outcome, but prolongs both long-term survival and disease-free survival.
- Myasthenia gravis and recurrent thymoma