What is thymic carcinoma?
Thymic carcinoma is an aggressive epithelial malignancy that often includes early local invasion, lymphadenopathy, and distant metastatic disease. Squamous cell carcinoma and lymphoepithelioma-like carcinoma are the most common cell types and most often occur in middle-aged men. On imaging, thymic carcinomas are commonly large, poorly defined, infiltrative anterior mediastinal masses that may have cystic or necrotic changes, often with pleural and pericardial effusions ( Figure 20-4 ). Treatment and prognosis depend on the stage and histologic grade of the tumor. Avid uptake of fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) on positron emission tomography (PET) imaging is typically seen, generally to a greater degree than in thymomas.