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mediastinal tumors

Sunday 18 March 2018


Definition: Mediastinal tumors are tumors arising in the mediastinum.

The mediastinum is the cavity that separates the lungs from the rest of the chest. It contains the heart, esophagus, trachea, thymus, and aorta. The mediastinum has three main parts: the anterior mediastinum (front), the middle mediastinum, and the posterior mediastinum (back).

The most common mediastinal masses are neurogenic tumors (20% of mediastinal tumors), usually found in the posterior mediastinum , followed by thymoma (15-20%) located in the anterior mediastinum.

Masses in the anterior mediastinum can include thymomas , lymphomas , pheochromocytoma , germ cell tumors including teratoma , thyroid tissue , and parathyroid anomalies. Masses in this area are more likely to be malignant than those in other compartments.

Masses in the posterior mediastinum tend to be neurogenic tumors, and in adults tend to be of neural sheath tumors including neurilemomas and neurofibromas.

Lung cancer typically spreads to the lymph nodes in the mediastinum.


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