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Thymic Epithelial Tumors as a Model of Networking: Development of a Synergistic Strategy for Clinical and Translational Research Purposes.

  • Melis, Enrico1
  • Gallo, Enzo2
  • di Martino, Simona2
  • Gallina, Filippo Tommaso1
  • Laquintana, Valentina2
  • Casini, Beatrice2
  • Visca, Paolo2
  • Ganci, Federica3
  • Alessandrini, Gabriele1
  • Caterino, Mauro4
  • Cecere, Fabiana Letizia5
  • Mandoj, Chiara6
  • Papadantonakis, Arianna2
  • De Bello, Nicoletta1
  • Lattanzio, Rossano7
  • Palmieri, Giovannella8
  • Garassino, Marina Chiara9
  • Girard, Nicolas10
  • Conti, Laura6
  • Blandino, Giovanni3
  • And 5 more
  • 1 Thoracic Surgery Unit, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 2 Department of Pathology, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 3 Oncogenomic and Epigenetic Unit, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 4 Radiology Unit, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 5 Medical Oncology 1, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 6 Clinical Pathology, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 7 University "G. d'Annunzio," Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences, Center for Advanced Studies and Technology (CAST), Chieti, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 8 Scientific Direction, Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Rare Tumors Reference Center, University Federico II, Naples, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 9 Thoracic Oncology Unit, Division of Medical Oncology, Foundation IRCCS-Italian National Cancer Institute, Milan, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 10 Institut du Thorax Curie-Montsouris, Institut Curie, Paris, France. , (France)
  • 11 Department of Anatomical, Histological, Forensic & Orthopedic Sciences, Section of Histology & Medical Embryology, Sapienza University of Rome, Laboratory Affiliated to Instituto Pasteur Italia-Fondazione Cenci Bolognetti, Rome, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 12 Scientific Direction, IRCCS Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Rome, Italy. , (Italy)
Published Article
Frontiers in Oncology
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2020
DOI: 10.3389/fonc.2020.00922
PMID: 32760665


Among the group of thymic epithelial tumors (TET), thymomas often show either uncertain or explicit malignant biological behavior, local invasiveness, and intrathoracic relapse and are often difficult to manage. From the initial stages, thymic carcinomas tend to show aggressive behavior and extrathoracic spread. Moreover, the interplay of epithelial cells and thymocytes in thymomas causes complex immune derangement and related systemic autoimmune diseases. Due to their rare occurrence and to the limited funding opportunities available for rare tumors, it is challenging to make advances in clinical and translational research in TET. The authors of this paper are all members of a multidisciplinary clinical and research thoracic tumor team. Strong input was given to the team by long-standing expertise in TET in the Pathology Department. In addition, thanks to the collaboration between research units at our Institute as well as to national collaborations, over the last 10 years we were able to perform several tissue-based research studies. The most recent studies focused on microRNA and on functional studies on the thymic carcinoma cell line 1889c. The recent implementation of our biobank now provides us with a new tool for networking collaborative research activities. Moreover, the participation in a worldwide community such as ITMIG (International Thymic Malignancy Interest Group) has allowed us to significantly contribute toward fundamental projects/research both in tissue-based studies (The Cancer Genome Atlas) and in clinical studies (TNM staging of TET). Our achievements derive from constant commitment and long-standing experience in diagnosis and research in TET. New perspectives opened up due to the establishment of national [the Italian Collaborative Group for ThYmic MalignanciEs (TYME)] and European reference networks such as EURACAN, for an empowered joint clinical action in adult solid rare tumors. The challenge we face still lies in the advancement of clinical and basic science in thymic epithelial malignancies. Copyright © 2020 Melis, Gallo, di Martino, Gallina, Laquintana, Casini, Visca, Ganci, Alessandrini, Caterino, Cecere, Mandoj, Papadantonakis, De Bello, Lattanzio, Palmieri, Garassino, Girard, Conti, Blandino, Fazi, Facciolo, Pescarmona, Ciliberto and Marino.

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