Thymoma and Thymic Carcinoma: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2019

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done to learn more about thymoma and thymic carcinoma and how to treat them. Use the menu to see other pages.

Doctors are working to learn more about thymic tumors, ways to prevent them, how to best treat them, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with thymoma or thymic carcinoma. The following areas of research may include new options for people with a thymic tumor through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the best diagnostic and treatment options for you.

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

  • Different combinations of treatments. For people 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. 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).

  • International collaboration. Rare diseases like thymic tumors are a challenge for researchers because of the small number of people who have the disease. Because of this, doctors and researchers around the world are working together to study thymic tumors, 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 thymic tumors, and ways to treat it.

  • Palliative care/supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current thymic tumor treatments to improve comfort and quality of life for patients.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

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

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