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Micronodular thymic epithelial tumors with lymphoid hyperplasia and mimicking lesions.

Micronodular arrangement of epithelial cells and lymphoid B-cell hyperplasia with follicles are both peculiar histological features in thymic tissue. Such features may especially occur in thymic epithelial tumors. The most common form is called micronodular thymoma with lymphoid stroma. We have recently described some characteristics of thymic micronodular carcinoma with lymphoid hyperplasia, highlighting how this carcinomatous counterpart should not be misdiagnosed as a thymoma. In this review, we discuss these two entities but also other mimics, which may occur in the anterior mediastinum. These mimics include various types of cellular micronodules and lymphoid backgrounds encompassing a wide range of mediastinal lesions. Non-neoplastic lesions, such as thymic nodular epithelial hyperplasia, thymic lymphoid hyperplasia, or sarcoidosis, as well as tumors of very varying aggressiveness, such as micronodular thymic epithelial tumors, low-grade lymphoma, seminoma, or lymphoepithelial carcinoma, are discussed. We show how these lesions may be misleading and we describe how a correct diagnostic may be obtained in current practice.

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