Mediastinal Tumors Program

Mediastinal Tumors Program

The Mediastinal Tumors Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provides specialized care and support for people diagnosed with mediastinal tumors, close to home.

Back to Thoracic Cancer Program


The Mediastinal Tumors Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi treats tumors of mediastinal origin. These are tumors that grow in the middle of the chest, in the area that separates the lungs. Tumors in this area include those from the thymus, nerves, lymphatic tissue such as lymph nodes, connective tissue or germ cells.   

Every patient who comes for treatment of a mediastinal tumor receives Patients First care throughout diagnosis and treatment, which may include surgery, chemotherapy, and innovative, advanced approaches to treatment. 

Mediastinal Tumors Program
  • Why Choose Us?
  • What We Treat
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis & Treatment
  • Program Caregivers

Why Choose Us?

The Mediastinal Tumors Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provides specialized care and support for people diagnosed with mediastinal tumors, close to home.  

We offer a comprehensive Thoracic Cancer Program supported by a multidisciplinary team of regarded thoracic experts. Taking a team approach to your treatment, care is coordinated among our specialists, and we offer a range of support services, ensuring you receive the highest quality care. This collaborative approach allows us to focus our entire team’s expertise and energy on providing the best strategies for diagnosing and treating our patients, supporting the best possible outcomes.  

Our multidisciplinary tumor board meets once a week to discuss each patient. Specialists in treating lung cancers and tumors, esophageal cancer and other cancers of the chest sit together to talk through the best treatment options, including clinical trials, for each individual. Patients get the benefit of several expert opinions.


What We Treat

Mediastinal tumors are growths that form in the area of the chest that separates the lungs, called the mediastinum. The mediastinum is the part of the chest that lies between the sternum and the spinal column and between the lungs. The mediastinal area is where the heart, esophagus, aorta, trachea, thymus, nerves and lymph nodes sit.

Tumors that develop in the mediastinum may be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). Because some tumors tend to grow in specific areas of the mediastinum, they are divided into three sections: either front (anterior), middle or back (posterior).

Anterior (front) mediastinum

  • Lymphoma: A cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system. These tumors are divided into 2 categories of Malignant tumors, Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
  • Thyroid mass mediastinal: Often a benign mass, such as a goiter.
  • Thymoma and thymic tumor: Formed in the thymus gland, most are non-cancerous, but around 30% may be more aggressive and invade other tissue.
  • Germ cell: Is a tumor that forms in cells that are still growing. These tumors can be malignant, but most are benign masses.

Middle mediastinum

  • Bronchogenic cyst: A benign growth that originates in the respiratory organs.
  • Pericardial cyst: A benign growth from a protruding of the heart’s lining (pericardium).
  • Lymphadenopathy mediastinal: An enlargement of the lymph nodes.
  • Tracheal tumors: Can be malignant or benign.
  • Esophageal abnormalities: Including diverticulum, achalasia esophageal, and hiatal hernia.
  • Esophageal tumors: Can be malignant or benign.
  • Vascular abnormalities: Including aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm.

Posterior (back) mediastinum

  • Neurogenic tumors: A common cause of posterior mediastinal tumors, they are either nerve sheath neoplasms, paraganglionic cell neoplasms or ganglion cell neoplasms. Most are benign.
  • Extramedullary haematopoiesis: A rare cause of masses from bone marrow growth. They are associated with severe anemia.
  • Lymphadenopathy: Enlarged lymph nodes.
  • Paravertebral abnormalities: Infectious, traumatic or malignant abnormalities within the thoracic spine.
  • Vascular abnormalities: Including aortic aneurisms.
  • Neuroenteric cyst: Neural and gastrointestinal factors cause a rare growth.

Symptoms, Causes & Risk Factors

Symptoms of Mediastinal Tumors

Many people with mediastinal tumors (around 40%) have no symptoms. The tumors are often found when an X-ray of the chest is performed for other medical reasons. Other patients with mediastinal tumors may experience one or more of the following symptoms because the tumor can put pressure on surrounding structures (heart, spinal cord or pericardium) in the chest. These symptoms may include:

  • Cough
  • Chest pain (rare)
  • Flushing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever or chills
  • Coughing up blood
  • Night sweats
  • Hoarseness or wheezing
  • Weight loss
  • Eye issues on one side (drooping eyelid, small pupil)
  • Swollen/tender lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy)
  • High-pitched/noisy breathing

Causes & Risk Factors of Mediastinal Tumors

In general, mediastinal tumors are rare and the cause is often unknown. These types of tumors are more common in people aged 30-50 years but can grow at any age and from any tissue within the chest cavity.


There are different types of tumors that can form in the mediastinum, and the cause of each is linked to where they form. They cannot be prevented, but you can increase the chances of successful treatment if they are discovered early. Mediastinal tumors that are not treated can cause serious problems, even if they are diagnosed as non-cancerous. Always report any of the symptoms of mediastinal tumors to your doctors if they persist for more than two weeks.


Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnosis of Mediastinal Tumors 

The following tests are used to diagnose mediastinal tumors: 

  • Blood tests 
  • Bronchoscopy 
  • Chest MRI  
  • Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) 
  • Chest X-ray 
  • CT scan with an IV contrast agent 
  • Esophagoscopy 
  • Mediastinoscopy with biopsy 
  • Needle biopsy or aspiration or CT-guided needle biopsy 
  • Ultrasound
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan

Treatment of Mediastinal Tumors

Treatment will depend on the type of mediastinal tumor and where it is located.  

  • Thymomas: Usually need surgical resection (which can be performed with minimally invasive techniques) followed by radiation therapy.  
  • Thymic cancers: Usually require surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. 
  • Lymphomas: Chemotherapy and then radiation therapy are usually given. Surgery may be performed for diagnostic purposes.
  • Neurogenic tumors: Surgery is performed for tumors in the posterior mediastinum. 

Non-cancerous tumors may be observed and monitored over time if they are not causing any issues/symptoms.


Program Caregivers

The Mediastinal Tumors Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is comprised of a multidisciplinary team who offer specialized support in areas ranging from diagnostic imaging to post-operative care.

Caregivers involved in patient care for mediastinal tumors include:

  • Thoracic Surgeons
  • Pulmonologists
  • Medical Oncologists
  • Radiation Oncologists
  • Thoracic Radiologists
  • Pathologists
  • Anesthesiologists
  • Intensivists
  • Specialized Nurses
  • Respiratory Therapists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Pain Management Practitioners
  • Case Managers
  • Social Workers.

Mediastinal Tumors Program Doctors

Meet the doctors who can help with Mediastinal Tumors Program

Loading data please wait ...

Loading data please wait ...

To request an appointment, call 800 8 2223

Patient Stories

Hear inspiring stories from our patients

View Story

Speak with our Contact Center for assistance

Request an Appointment 800 8 2223 International Patients