The prognostic importance of histologic classifications of thymic epithelial neoplasms is controversial. Evidence suggests that difficulties in reproducibility affect prognostic studies. Two thoracic pathologists independently classified 80 cases of type A or B3 thymoma and thymic carcinoma according to World Health Organization (WHO) classification. Ki-67 labeling index (LI) was used to identify cutoff points between WHO types. Recursive partitioning (Rpart) and ad hoc methods separated the data points. The pathologists agreed on type A (n = 31), type B3 (n = 21), and thymic carcinoma (n = 14). Ki-67 LI differed between types A and B3 (P <.001) and between thymic carcinoma and type A (P <.001) or type B3 (P =.001). Mitotic activity differed between thymic carcinoma and type A (P <.001) or type B3 (P <.001). Rpart revealed Ki-67 LI greater than 14.0% only in thymic carcinoma; cases with Ki-67 LI less than 5.1% did not represent thymic carcinoma. Ad hoc analysis showed Ki-67 LI greater than or equal to 13.5% represents thymic carcinoma; only type A had Ki-67 LI less than 2%. The pathologists disagreed on histologic type in 14 cases. In 11 of 14 cases with available Ki-67, the Rpart method predicted the WHO type; in 7 of 14 cases, the ad hoc method predicted the WHO type. In conclusion, Ki-67 LI is helpful in differentiating thymic epithelial neoplasms, with Ki-67 LI less than 2% and greater than or equal to 13.5% distinguishing type A thymoma and thymic carcinoma, respectively.
- Ki-67 labeling index
- Thymic carcinoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine