Pericardial Involvement by Thymomas

Entirely Intrapericardial Thymoma and a Pericardial Metastasis of Thymoma with Glomeruloid Vascular Proliferations

Hendrik BLÄKER1, Susanne DRAGOJE2, Jean-Albert LAISSUE2, Herwart F OTTO1

1Department of Pathology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany
2Department of Pathology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland


Thymomas are usually found in the anterior mediastinum, the normal location of the thymus. Involvement of the pericardium by thymic tumors is seen in invasive or metastasized thymoma. Very rarely, thymomas arise primarily in the pericardium. These tumors are believed to derive from thymic tissue which was misplaced in the pericardium during embryologic development. In contrast to patients with orthotopic thymoma who commonly suffer from paraneoplastic diseases, especially myasthenia gravis, patients with intrapericardial thymoma manifestations mainly have symptoms of congestive heart failure which are caused by local complications of tumor growth. In this study, we present two cases of thymoma involving the pericardium. Both tumors were polygonal-oval cell thymomas. In one of the cases diagnosis of an entirely intrapericardial thymoma was established by autopsy. In the other case, explorative thoracotomy revealed massive pericardial and pleural tumor manifestations. The latter tumor showed a peculiar histological pattern with multiple glomeruloid bodies, a finding reported only once for thymomas. Pathology & Oncology Research, Vol 5, Nr 2, 160-163, 1999

Key words: pericardium; thymoma; glomeruloid structures

Received: Dec 29, 1998; accepted: Feb 22, 1999
Correspondence: Hendrik BLÄKER, Department of Pathology, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 220/221 Heidelberg 69120, Germany; Tel: +49-6221-562673, Fax: +49-6221-565251; E-mail:

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