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 inhibitors of the KIT tyrosine kinase receptor (TKR). Imatinib mesylate (IM) 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 Rajan A et al, in a 2010 review and of Palmieri in 2012.
Giaccone G, Rajan A, Ruijter R, Smit E, van Groeningen C, Hogendoorn PC. Imatinib mesylate in patients with WHO B3 thymomas and thymic carcinomas.Thorac Oncol. 2009 Oct;4(10):1270-3.
J. T. Salter, D. Lewis, C. Yiannoutsos, P. J. Loehrer, Sr., L. Risley and E. G. Chiorean
CLINICAL SUMMARY. Imatinib for the treatment of thymic carcinoma Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2008 ASCO Annual Meeting Proceedings (Post-Meeting Edition). Vol 26, No 15S (May 20 Supplement), 2008: 8116
JRajan A, Giaccone G.Targeted therapy for advanced thymic tumors. Thorac Oncol. 2010 Oct;5(10 Suppl 4):S361-4.
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