Stanford School of Medicine

Surgical Pathology Criteria

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Lymphomas Involving the Thymus


  • A small number of lymphomas appear to have a propensity to arise in or involve the thymus

Diagnostic Criteria

Robert V Rouse MD
Department of Pathology
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford CA 94305-5342

Original posting/updates: 9/24/10

Classification / Lists

Non-Thymic Neoplasms that May Arise Primarily in the Thymus

  • Hematopoietic
    • Primary mediastinal large B cell lymphoma
    • Extranodal marginal zone lymphoma
    • Precursor T lymphoblastic lymphoma/leukemia
    • Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Germ cell tumors
    • Seminoma (Germinoma)
    • Embryonal carcinoma
    • Yolk sac tumor
    • Teratoma
    • Choriocarcinoma
    • With associated somatic type malignancy
      • Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma
      • Angiosarcoma
      • Others
    • With associated hematologic malignancy
      • Acute myelogenous leukemia
      • Acute megakaryoblastic leukemia
      • Others

Miscellaneous Thymic Lesions and Conditions

Intrinsic Tumors of the Thymus


  • See specific lymphoma types for additional references
  • Shimosato Y, Mukai K, Matsuno Y. Tumors of the Mediastinum, Atlas of Tumor Pathology, AFIP Fourth Series, Fascicle 11, 2010
  • den Bakker MA, Oosterhuis JW. Tumours and tumour-like conditions of the thymus other than thymoma; a practical approach. Histopathology. 2009 Jan;54(1):69-89
  • Kuroki S, Nasu K, Murakami K, Hayashi T, Sekiguchi R, Nishida H, Miyagawa K, Kuroki Y, Nawano S. Thymic MALT lymphoma: MR imaging findings and their correlation with histopathological findings on four cases. Clin Imaging. 2004 Jul-Aug;28(4):274-7
  • Isaacson PG, Chan JK, Tang C, Addis BJ. Low-grade B-cell lymphoma of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue arising in the thymus. A thymic lymphoma mimicking myoepithelial sialadenitis. Am J Surg Pathol. 1990 Apr;14(4):342-51
  • Lorsbach RB, Pinkus GS, Shahsafaei A, Dorfman DM. Primary marginal zone lymphoma of the thymus. Am J Clin Pathol. 2000 Jun;113(6):784-91
  • Lamarre L, Jacobson JO, Aisenberg AC, Harris NL. Primary large cell lymphoma  of the mediastinum. A histologic and immunophenotypic study of 29 cases. Am J Surg Pathol. 1989 Sep;13(9):730-9
  • Nakagawa A, Nakamura S, Koshikawa T, Nakayama A, Nagasaka T, Motoori T, Kojima M, Hosomura Y, Ueda R, Mori S, et al. Clinicopathologic study of primary mediastinal non-lymphoblastic non-Hodgkin's lymphomas among the Japanese. Acta Pathol Jpn. 1993 Jan-Feb;43(1-2):44-54
  • Cazals-Hatem D, Lepage E, Brice P, Ferrant A, d'Agay MF, Baumelou E, Brière J, Blanc M, Gaulard P, Biron P, Schlaifer D, Diebold J, Audouin J. Primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma. A clinicopathologic study of 141 cases compared with 916 nonmediastinal large B-cell lymphomas, a GELA ("Groupe d'Etude des Lymphomes de l'Adulte") study. Am J Surg Pathol. 1996 Jul;20(7):877-88
  • Davis RE, Dorfman RF, Warnke RA. Primary large-cell lymphoma of the thymus: a diffuse B-cell neoplasm presenting as primary mediastinal lymphoma. Hum Pathol. 1990 Dec;21(12):1262-8
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