The classification of thymoma continues to be a source of controversy in pathology. The difficulties in histologic classification are evident from the number of proposals that have been offered over the years, as well as for the continuous changes and modifications introduced by the World Health Organization to their classification system over the past 20 years. We analyze here some of the issues involved in the classification of these tumors and the difficulties encountered for practicing pathologists in deciphering the "letters and numbers" system devised by the World Health Organization. We would like to propose an alternate approach to thymoma histologic classification that capitalizes on the basic observation of their cytologic features and incorporates the pattern of growth resulting from the interplay of the tumor cells with other cellular constituents as a secondary characteristic. The proposed histologic classification provides a simplified, reproducible means of histologically categorizing these tumors and can be easily understood by most practicing pathologists in simple and clear morphologic terms.
- WHO classification