Mediastinal Tumours


Mediastinal tumours are rare tumours involving the central part of the chest called the mediastinum. These tumours can cause compression of the surrounding structures and organs such as the heart, lung, esophagus and trachea.


Diagnosis of Mediastinal Tumours

A chest radiography will usually suggest a mass in the mediastinum. This needs to be confirmed by a computed tomography (CT) and rarely by nuclear magnetic resonance (MRI).

A precise diagnosis is extremely important as treatment differs greatly, depending on the tumour type. A biopsy of the tumour is usually performed under CT-guidance and local anaesthetic. When this is not possible, the surgeon has to perform a direct biopsy of the tumour under general anaesthetic using VATS or mediastinoscopy.


Treatment of Mediastinal Tumours

For many mediastinal tumours the best treatment is surgical resection (thymoma, sarcoma, neurogenic tumours). However, some of these tumours are best treated by chemotherapy only or a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy (germ cell tumours, lymphoma).

When surgery is the best treatment, a wide excision is usually performed through an incision at the front (sternotomy) or on the side of the chest (thoracotomy). Minimally invasive resection using VATS is possible in some cases, when the tumour is small (<5 cm) and not involving a major vessel or the heart.

Recently, immunotherapy agents and targeted therapies have been used with success in thymic tumours and some types of sarcoma. We do offer these treatments based on personalised molecualr analyses.