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Thymic Carcinoma


    Chemotherapy is also utilized in the management of patients with inoperable thymic carcinoma. Most regimens used are similar to those used to treat thymoma and include cisplatin.[6,7,8,9,10]

    Objective responses and improved outcomes compared to historical data have been reported from small uncontrolled studies. Combinations of doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, and vincristine and cisplatin have also shown favorable responses in studies.[6,7,8] Etoposide, ifosfamide, and cisplatin (VIP) was utilized in a prospective North American Intergroup trial.[9] There was a 25% (2 of 8 patients) partial response rate. The 1-year and 2-year survival rates were 75% and 50%, respectively.

    Standard treatment options for patients with operable disease include the following:

    1. En bloc surgical resection.
    2. Postoperative radiation therapy may be considered whether or not the surgical resection has been complete, and especially for stage III and stage IVA patients.

    Standard treatment options for patients with inoperable disease (stage III and stage IV with vena caval obstruction, pleural involvement, pericardial implants, etc.) include the following:

    1. Radiation therapy.
    2. Chemotherapy with or without surgery and/or radiation therapy.
    3. Chemoradiation therapy.
    4. Chemotherapy.

    Treatment options under clinical evaluation:

    Areas of active clinical evaluation for patients with thymic carcinoma include the following:

    • New drug regimens.
    • Variation of drug doses in current regimens.
    • New radiation therapy schedules.

    Current Clinical Trials

    Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with thymic carcinoma. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

    General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.


    1. Eng TY, Fuller CD, Jagirdar J, et al.: Thymic carcinoma: state of the art review. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 59 (3): 654-64, 2004.
    2. Kondo K, Monden Y: Therapy for thymic epithelial tumors: a clinical study of 1,320 patients from Japan. Ann Thorac Surg 76 (3): 878-84; discussion 884-5, 2003.
    3. Ogawa K, Toita T, Uno T, et al.: Treatment and prognosis of thymic carcinoma: a retrospective analysis of 40 cases. Cancer 94 (12): 3115-9, 2002.
    4. Greene MA, Malias MA: Aggressive multimodality treatment of invasive thymic carcinoma. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 125 (2): 434-6, 2003.
    5. Lucchi M, Mussi A, Ambrogi M, et al.: Thymic carcinoma: a report of 13 cases. Eur J Surg Oncol 27 (7): 636-40, 2001.
    6. Koizumi T, Takabayashi Y, Yamagishi S, et al.: Chemotherapy for advanced thymic carcinoma: clinical response to cisplatin, doxorubicin, vincristine, and cyclophosphamide (ADOC chemotherapy). Am J Clin Oncol 25 (3): 266-8, 2002.
    7. Weide LG, Ulbright TM, Loehrer PJ Sr, et al.: Thymic carcinoma. A distinct clinical entity responsive to chemotherapy. Cancer 71 (4): 1219-23, 1993.
    8. Carlson RW, Dorfman RF, Sikic BI: Successful treatment of metastatic thymic carcinoma with cisplatin, vinblastine, bleomycin, and etoposide chemotherapy. Cancer 66 (10): 2092-4, 1990.
    9. Loehrer PJ Sr, Jiroutek M, Aisner S, et al.: Combined etoposide, ifosfamide, and cisplatin in the treatment of patients with advanced thymoma and thymic carcinoma: an intergroup trial. Cancer 91 (11): 2010-5, 2001.
    10. Igawa S, Murakami H, Takahashi T, et al.: Efficacy of chemotherapy with carboplatin and paclitaxel for unresectable thymic carcinoma. Lung Cancer 67 (2): 194-7, 2010.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: February 25, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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