Thymic carcinoma
Sarcomatoid thymic carcinoma

Author: Hanni Gulwani, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 19 June 2018, last major update December 2012

Copyright: (c) 2003-2018,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Sarcomatoid thymic carcinoma

Cite this page: Gulwani, H. Sarcomatoid thymic carcinoma. website. Accessed July 19th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Very rare; usually presents as rapidly growing, anterior mediastinal mass
  • Must exclude metastases before making this diagnosis
  • May arise from malignant transformation of preexisting spindle cell thymoma (Am J Surg Pathol 1999;23:691)
  • Aggressive - recurrence, metastasis and death are common
  • Also called spindle cell thymic carcinoma
Case reports
Gross description
  • Large (mean 15 cm), well circumscribed, locally infiltrative
  • Firm cut surface, focal hemorrhage, necrosis, cystic changes
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Irregular fascicles of fusiform and pleomorphic cells with amphophilic or eosinophilic cytoplasm, hyperchromatic nuclei, prominent nucleoli (at least focally), brisk mitotic activity, often atypical mitotic figures
  • May have epithelioid foci
  • Usually transitional areas with spindle cell thymoma
  • May also have lymphoepithelioma-like or anaplastic areas
  • Rarely rhabdomyogenic foci with cross striations
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Atypical population
of spindle cells
with frequent
mitotic figures

Positive stains
Negative stains
Electron microscopy description
  • Focal junctional complexes between spindle cells, tonofibrils
Differential diagnosis