Out of 33 TGCA studies, the effects of TP53 mutations were statistically significant in nine cancers (lung adenocarcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, acute myeloid leukemia, clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC), papillary RCC, chromophobe RCC, uterine endometrial carcinoma, and thymoma) for survival time and in five cancers (pancreatic adenocarcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, chromophobe RCC, acute myeloid leukemia, and thymoma) for disease-free survival time.
LOHs were also seen at the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) locus (5q21-22) in subsets of these thymomas, whereas combined LOHs at the APC, retinoblastoma (13q14.3), and p53 (17p13.1) loci were confined to a subset of B3 thymomas that had possibly evolved from APC-hemizygous B2 thymomas by tumor progression; indeed, thymomas combing B2 plus B3 features are common.
The incidence of p53 low and high expressor in thymoma were 19% (5/26) and 8% (2/26), respectively. p53 immunopositivity in thymoma was significantly correlated with PCNA labeling index (LI). p53 expression ratio in invasive thymoma (33%) tended to be higher than that in non-invasive thymoma (18%). p53 expression was detected in one of the thymic carcinoma.
Histological and clinical evaluation and also p53 analysis revealed three major tumour groups: non-organotypic thymic carcinomas with frequent p53 alterations (7/9) and occurrence of p53 gene mutations (2/9); malignant thymomas with frequent p53 alterations but without p53 gene mutations (11/18); and benign thymomas with rare p53 alterations and without p53 gene mutations (2/17).
Considering the need to treat advanced TC more effectively, disparate findings in predictive molecular markers (eg, KIT mutations in TSCC, but not in thymomas) suggest that targeted treatments will have to be different in thymomas and TC.
Apart from their different morphology, TC and thymomas differ also in functional terms (TC, in contrast to thymomas, have lost the capacity to promote the maturation of intratumorous lymphocytes), have different genetic features (discussed in this review), a different immunoprofile (most TC overexpress c-KIT, whereas thymomas are consistently negative), and different clinical features (TC, in contrast to thymomas, are not associated with paraneoplastic myasthenia gravis).