Thymic hyperplasia after high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation: incidence and significance in patients with breast cancer.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence and clinical significance of thymic hyperplasia after high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation for treatment of metastatic or high-risk primary (with at least four positive lymph nodes) breast cancer. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed clinical records and CT scans of 102 breast cancer patients treated with high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation. Patients were 26-63 years old (mean, 46 years). The length and width of the thymus gland were measured on serial CT scans obtained before and after treatment. Moderate thymic hyperplasia was recorded if a focal or diffuse increase was seen in the oblong, triangular soft-tissue opacity conforming to the configuration of the normal gland within the anterior mediastinum after therapy. Minimal hyperplasia was recorded when a minimal increase was seen in soft-tissue attenuation conforming to the configuration of the normal bilobed thymus gland within the anterior mediastinum, but no discrete mass was visible. RESULTS: CT showed no thymic hyperplasia in 91 (89%) of the 102 patients. CT showed thymic hyperplasia in the other 11 patients (11%). Three patients (3%) had moderate hyperplasia, and eight patients (8%) had minimal hyperplasia. When comparing patients with and without hyperplasia, we found no difference in mean age or survival. CONCLUSION: Thymic hyperplasia is rare after high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation in adult patients with metastatic or high-risk primary breast cancer. In this population, thymic hyperplasia does not appear to correlate with survival.
Hara, M; McAdams, HP; Vredenburgh, JJ; Herndon, JE; Patz, EF
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