Thymic carcinomas (TC) are rare neoplastic diseases with chemosensitivity to a broad range of agents. Studies have demonstrated expression of c-kit in TC, presenting a potential target for drugs that inhibitor of the KIT tyrosine kinase receptor (TKR). Gleevec (Imatinib) is an orally administered inhibitor of multiple TKR’s, including bcr-abl, KIT, and PDGFR. Several case reports demonstrate responses of thymic tumors to imatinib. However, in 2008, Slater et al in a study of 11 patients concluded that despite KIT and PDGFR overexpression in Thymic Cancer, Gleevec does not appear to have substantial activity to justify its use in patients with this disease. This was also the conclusion of two other reviews.
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