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Unusual combined thymic mucoepidermoid carcinoma and thymoma: a case report and review of literature

Shi-gang Wu12, Yang Li1, Bin Li1, Xiao-ying Tian3 and Zhi Li1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, The First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, 58, Zhongshan Road II, Guangzhou 510080, China

2 Department of Pathology, Qingyuan People’s Hospital B24, Yinquan Road, Qingcheng District, Qingyuan City 511518, China

3 School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University 7, Baptist University Road, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, China

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Diagnostic Pathology 2014, 9:8  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-9-8

Published: 20 January 2014



In rare condition, combined thymic epithelial tumors showing either type A or type B thymomas areas combined with thymic carcinoma components may occur in thymus. Mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC) of the thymus is rare in thymic carcinoma, and so far there is no report to describe a combined epithelial tumor of thymus with MEC component. We report an unusual case of combined thymic MEC/type B2 thymoma in a middle-aged male occurring in a mass of anterior mediastinum. Case report: A 51-year-old Chinese male patient presented with a 6-month history of right ptosis and progressive muscle weakness. Computed tomography (CT) examination revealed a solitary, well-circumscribed mass was in the anterior mediastinum with mild heterogeneous enhancement. Histologically, the mass contained two separated components and displayed typically histological features of low-grade MEC and type B2 thymoma, respectively. There was no gradual transition of these two components observed in mass, and no enlarged lymph node was found in the surrounding tissues. A diagnosis of combined thymic MEC/type B2 thymoma was made. The patient received thymectomy to resect the mass totally. After surgery, chemotherapy with regiments of cisplatin and mitomycin, and radiotherapy of the main tumor bed were performed on the patient. There was no evidence of tumor recurrence during the period of 12 months follow-up.


To our best knowledge, this is the first report of combined thymic epithelial tumor with MEC component. Although this tumor is rare, the diagnosis of a thymic MEC should be taken into consideration when a combined epithelial tumor is occasionally encountered in thymus.

Virtual slides

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Thymic neoplasm; Combined thymic epithelial tumor; Mucoepidermoid carcinoma; Thymoma; Differential diagnosis