Thymic epithelial tumors (TETs) are associated with paraneoplastic/autoimmune (PN/AI) syndromes. Myasthenia gravis is the most common PN/AI syndrome associated with TETs.The International Thymic Malignancy Interest Group retrospective database was examined to determine (1) baseline and treatment characteristics associated with PN/AI syndromes and (2) the prognostic role of PN/AI syndromes for patients with TETs. The competing risks model was used to estimate cumulative incidence of recurrence (CIR) and the Kaplan-Meier method was used to calculate overall survival (OS). A Cox proportional hazards model was used for multivariate analysis.A total of 6670 patients with known PN/AI syndrome status from 1951 to 2012 were identified. PN/AI syndromes were associated with younger age, female sex, thymoma histologic type, earlier stage, and an increased rate of total thymectomy and complete resection status. There was a statistically significant lower CIR in the group with a PN/AI syndrome than in the group without a PN/AI syndrome (10-year CIR 17.3% versus 21.2%, respectively [p = 0.0003]). The OS was improved in the group with a PN/AI syndrome compared to the group without a PN/AI syndrome (median OS 21.6 years versus 17.0 years, respectively [hazard ratio = 0.63, 95% confidence interval: 0.54-0.74, p < 0.0001]). However, in the multivariate model for recurrence-free survival and OS, PN/AI syndrome was not an independent prognostic factor.Previously, there have been mixed data regarding the prognostic role of PN/AI syndromes for patients with TETs. Here, using the largest data set in the world for TETs, PN/AI syndromes were associated with favorable features (i.e., earlier stage and complete resection status) but were not an independent prognostic factor for patients with TETs.
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