ISSN - 0973-0958

Pediatric Oncall Journal

Primary Mediastinal Masses in Infants and Children 01/09/2014 00:00:00

Primary Mediastinal Masses in Infants and Children

Soheila Khalilzadeh, Nooshin Baghaie, Mohammad Reza Boloursaz, Maryam Hasanzad, AmirAli Khodayari.
Department of Pediatrics, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, IR Iran.

Soheila Khalilzadeh, Masih Daneshvari Hospital, Darabad Ave, Tehran, IR Iran.
Primary mediastinal malignancies are rare in children. 78% of patients are diagnosed as having solid tumors.(1) Approximately one half of the masses are malignant, and of neurogenic or lymphomatous origin. According to different reports, neurogenic tumors predominate before the age of 4 years, while lymphomas are most common beyond age 4 and germ cell tumors are seen in adolescence. 66% of the malignancies are potentially curable by surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.(2) The most common chest wall malignancies in children are sarcomas including Ewing's sarcoma of the bone or soft tissue and peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PPNET).(3) Compared to adults, children with mediastinal masses have more neurogenic tumors and with less frequency thymomas.(4) In this study we evaluated the clinical manifestations, age range, and method of diagnosis and treatment of children with mediastinal masses presenting to the pediatric ward of Masih Daneshvari Hospital.

This was a retrospective study performed in pediatric ward of Masih Daneshvari Hospital and evaluated the medical records of hospitalized children under 15 years of age with a mediastinal mass during 2001-2006. There were a total of 45 children, 27 males (60%) and 18 females (40%) with the mean age of 92 months (range 4 months to 15 yrs). Most cases were at the age range of 10 to 15 yrs (58%). Boys and girls comprised 61% and 39% of all malignant cases respectively. 82.2% of masses were malignant out of which 67.3% were nodular sclerosing Hodgkin's lymphoma followed by T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma (17% of the masses). In one case, the diagnosis was cervical lymphangioma with invasion to the mediastinum. The most significant radiographic findings were mediastinal masses (44%) and hilar lymphadenopathy (31%). Regarding the site of involvement, anterior mediastinum, middle mediastinum and posterior mediastinum were involved in 84.4%, 11% and 4.6% of the cases respectively. 71% of children underwent chemotherapy, 16% underwent surgery for resection of the tumor and 13% were treated with both surgery and chemotherapy. Clinical features are depicted in Table 1.

Table 1: Clinical Features of Mediastinal masses
Clinical FeaturesPercent
Weight Loss
Pleuritic Chest pain
Musculoskeletal pain
Anemia or pancytopenia
Lung Mass
SVC Syndrome

According to the results of this study, almost 82.2% of mediastinal masses in children were malignant and the majority of them were lymphomas or neurogenic tumors. Malignant lesions were mostly seen in boys older than 10 yrs; whereas, children younger than 5 yrs had benign tumors on pathological examination. Based on our study results, since lymphatic malignancies comprise a high percentage of pediatric mediastinal masses which respond well to chemotherapy, in those with suspicious chest x ray and significant hematologic disorders found on paraclinical tests, mediastinal masses should be seriously considered.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Funding None
Conflict of Interest None
  1. Sawicz K, Czernik J, Chrzan R, Kolodziej J. Mediastinal tumors in children. Pol Merkur Lekarski. 2002. 13;(76):305-7.
  2. Bower RJ, Kiesewetter WB. Mediastinal masses in infants and children. Arch Surg. 1977. 112;(8): 1003-9.  [CrossRef]
  3. Kristin LC, Bruce G, Barbara JW. Cardiopulmonary and thoracic tumors of children. Pediatric oncology imaging. 1997. 35;(6):1341-1365.
  4. Roy T, Nechol A, Theresa CH, Richard C. Primary mediastinal malignancies in children: Report of 22 patients and comparison to 197 Adults. Oncologist 2000.5:179-184.

Cite this article as:
Khalilzadeh S, Baghaie N, Boloursaz M R, Hasanzad M, Khodayari A. Primary Mediastinal Masses in Infants and Children. Pediatr Oncall J. 2009;6: 18.
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