Thymoma and Thymic Carcinoma

Annette M. Moore, Christopher J. Sweeney, Mark R. Wick, Patrick J. Loehrer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Thymomas and thymic carcinomas are rare epithelial tumors arising from the thymus gland. These are the most common tumors of the anterior mediastinum. Prospective studies on the treatment of thymic epithelial tumors are very limited because of the very low incidence of these tumors. The histologic classification remains controversial, but over the last two decades attempts have been made to clarify the unique histologic appearance of these tumors and to use both the histologic features as well as the stage of the malignancy as prognostic indicators. Thymomas are generally slow-growing, encapsulated tumors with a "bland" histologic appearance, whereas thymic carcinomas possess a more malignant-appearing histology. Surgery is the first-line treatment in both of these diseases; complete resection is the most important prognostic feature. Multimodality treatment includes surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy (both neoadjuvant and adjuvant). Other agents such as prednisone, octreotide, and epidermal growth factor inhibitors have also been utilized, though with less success. Prospective clinical trials should be considered first-line therapy for patients not cured with surgery alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTextbook of Uncommon Cancer, Third Edition
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)0470012021, 9780470012024
StatePublished - Jul 11 2006


  • Masaoka staging
  • Mediastinal tumors
  • Thymic carcinoma
  • Thymoma
  • Thymus gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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  • Cite this

    Moore, A. M., Sweeney, C. J., Wick, M. R., & Loehrer, P. J. (2006). Thymoma and Thymic Carcinoma. In Textbook of Uncommon Cancer, Third Edition (pp. 237-256). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.