• Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is the prognosis for thymoma?

The prognosis (outcome) for thymoma is dependent upon the stage of the tumor as well as the ability to successfully remove the tumor by surgery. Thymic carcinomas tend to behave more aggressively and have a worse prognosis than thymomas. Thymomas tend to be slow-growing tumors, and the prognosis is excellent for those with Stage 1 or Stage 2 thymoma. In a study of patients whose thymomas were completely removed by surgery, only 3% of the tumors recurred. Even 83% of patients with Stage 3 thymoma were alive 10 years after diagnosis. The 10-year survival rate for Stage 4 thymoma is approximately 47%. Overall, a majority of thymoma patients will live at least 5 years, while fewer than half or those with thymic carcinoma are expected to live that long.

Can thymoma be prevented?

Because the cause of thymoma is not known and no risk factors have been identified, prevention of thymoma is not possible.

Medically reviewed by Jay B. Zatzkin, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Medical Oncology


Ströbel, Philipp, et al., "Tumor recurrence and survival in patients treated for thymomas and thymic squamous cell carcinomas: a retrospective analysis." Journal of Clinical Oncology 22.8 (2004): 1501-1509.

Travis, William D., et al., eds. "Pathology and Genetics of Tumours of the Lung, Pleura, Thymus and Heart." In: World Health Organization Classification of Tumours. 1st Edition. Lyon, France: IARC Press, 2004.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/16/2016

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