Thymoma: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 05/2016

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about this type of cancer and how to treat it. To see other pages, use the menu.

Doctors are working to learn more about thymoma, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.

  • New drugs. Researchers are currently studying several new treatments and treatment methods for patients with thymoma and thymic carcinoma. For patients with advanced thymoma or thymic carcinoma, several new drugs are being studied in clinical trials, including amrubicin, belinostat (Beleodaq), buparlisib, pembrolizumab (Keytruda), PHA-848125AC (milicilib), and saracatinib.

  • Different combinations of treatments. For patients with advanced thymoma or thymic carcinoma that has not been previously treated, researchers are looking at combining chemotherapy with radiation therapy before surgery. Also, researchers are looking at combining chemotherapy with the targeted therapy drug cetuximab (Erbitux) before surgery to increase. The goal is to increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy and make surgery possible for more people with advanced thymoma.

  • Cancer vaccines. Cancer vaccines are treatments that help a person’s immune system fight cancer, an approach called immunotherapy. For thymoma, researchers are studying the effectiveness of an experimental vaccine combined with the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide and the anti-inflammatory drug celecoxib (Celebrex).II

  • International collaboration. Rare diseases like thymoma are a challenge for researchers because of the small number of patients who have the disease. Because of this, doctors and researchers around the world are working together to study thymoma, collect information, and design clinical trials through the International Thymic Malignancy Interest Group.

  • Myasthenia gravis research. Studies are underway to learn more about this condition (see Introduction), its link with thymoma, and ways to treat it.

  • Palliative care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current thymoma treatments to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding thymoma, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

The next section in this guide is Coping with Treatment. It offers some guidance in how to cope with the physical, emotional, and social changes that cancer and its treatment can bring. Or, use the menu to choose another section to continue reading this guide.