Thymic neoplasms are rare malignant tumors, and the mainstay of treatment for patients
with thymic tumors is surgical resection. Chemotherapy is necessary for patients with extensive tumor
invasion or metastasis who are unable to undergo complete radical excision. However, only two-thirds
of these patients respond to chemotherapy. For those patients who are resistant to chemotherapy,
targeted therapy has been proposed as a beneficial alternative. Many genes implicated in
tumorigenesis and metastasis have been demonstrated to be therapeutic targets in thymic
malignancies. Currently, a number of case reports and small clinical trials have reported that a few
inhibitors, such as sorafenib and sunitinib, are effective for the treatment of thymoma. This review describes the current
potential drug targets and their roles in the development of thymic malignancy. Drugs that are used for the targeted
therapy of thymoma and the results of related clinical trials are addressed. Furthermore, we provide an overview of the
screening of specific patients who are suitable for targeted therapy and the efficacy of targeted therapy in patients with
refractory or recurrent thymic tumors.
Keywords: Cancer therapy, carcinogenesis, targeted therapy, thymic neoplasms, thymic carcinoma, thymoma.
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