Medical therapy of some of the less common diseases is occasionally based on uncertain premises. Such is the thin thread of evidence that forms the rationale for removal of thymic tumors in cases of myasthenia gravis. So rare are recorded instances of successful removal of a tumor of the thymus from a patient suffering from myasthenia gravis that there is yet no conclusive evidence of the value of this procedure.
Interest in the relation of myasthenia gravis to activity of the thymus was first stimulated by the report of Weigert1 in 1901. He described the observation, at autopsy, of a thymic tumor in a patient who had died of myasthenia gravis. A series of 56 cases of the disease with autopsy were collected by Bell2 in 1917. Of this group, enlargement or tumor of the thymus was present in almost 50 per cent. Holmes3 related, in 1923,
FRANK TURNBULL. REMOVAL OF MALIGNANT THYMOMA IN A CASE OF MYASTHENIA GRAVIS. Arch NeurPsych. 1942;48(6):938–945. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1942.02290120090005