Anterior mediastinal solid tumours were routinely interpreted on CT and MR imaging. However, imaging features of these tumours could be non-specific; evidence suggestive of definitive diagnosis was needed and obtained with invasive procedure of biopsy for some cases. In the present study, we attempted to extent the application of MR elastography to the mediastinum in characterization of anterior mediastinal solid tumours, with the comparison to diffusion-weighted MRI. Thirty-four patients histologically-confirmed with thymic carcinoma in 10, thymoma in 10 and lymphoma in 14 were evaluated. It was found that stiffness value measured on elastogram was significantly higher in thymic carcinoma than that of thymoma and lymphoma. However, measurements of apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) were not significantly different among three groups. It was demonstrated that MR elastography reflecting the mechanical properties of tumours can be used to characterize anterior mediastinal solid tumours, particularly in distinguishing thymic carcinoma from lymphoma.