Potential Prognostic Value of Preoperative Leukocyte Count, Lactate Dehydrogenase and C-Reactive Protein in Thymic Epithelial Tumors

Thymic epithelial tumors are the most common mediastinal tumors. Surgery is the mainstay of treatment and complete resection provides the best survival rate. However, advanced tumors often require multimodality treatment and thus we analyzed the prognostic potential of routine circulating biomarkers that might help to risk-stratify patients beyond tumor stage and histology. Preoperative values for white blood cell count (WBC), C-reactive protein (CRP) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) were analyzed in 220 thymic epithelial tumor patients operated between 1999 and 2018. Increased CRP levels (>1 mg/dl) were significantly more often measured in thymic carcinoma and neuroendocrine tumors when compared to thymoma. LDH serum activity was higher in thymic neuroendocrine tumors when compared to thymoma or thymic carcinoma. The median disease specific survival was significantly longer in thymoma cases than in thymic carcinoma and neuroendocrine tumors. Increased preoperative LDH level (>240 U/L) associated with shorter survival in thymus carcinoma (HR 4.76, p = 0.0299). In summary, higher CRP associated with carcinoma and neuroendocrine tumors, while LDH increased primarily in neuroendocrine tumors suggesting that biomarker analysis should be performed in a histology specific manner. Importantly, preoperative serum LDH might be a prognosticator in thymic carcinoma and may help to risk stratify surgically treated patients in multimodal treatment regimens.

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