Proton beam therapy: state-of-the-art technology to target cancer. Clinical outcomes and current status in Japan

Presented by Tetsuo Akimoto, Head of the Department of Radiation Oncology and Particle Therapy and director of National Cancer Center Hospital East (NCCHE), Chiba, Japan. 

In 1986, doctor Tetsuo Akimoto obtained his PhD on radiation oncology and particle beam therapy at the School of Medicine, Gunma University, Japan. In 1997, he joined for a year the Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA. In 2010, his excelled value was recognized by being awarded with the Professorship at Tokyo Women’s Medical University, Japan.

Doctor Akimoto has received numerous awards, such as, “Best Scientist award of the International Association for the Sensitization of Cancer Treatment”, 2004, and “the Abe prize of the Japanese Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology”, 2007. He is board member of the Japanese Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (JASTRO) and collaborates with Sumitomo Corporation and TOMI Australia to gain further insight into the use of Proton Beam as alternative therapy to treat tumors.

Currently, his work is focused on the clinical and technical development of proton beam therapy for cancer care, such as, head and neck (mainly skull base and nasopharyngeal), bladder and prostate tumours. Prof. Akimoto has investigated the late toxicity events of proton beam therapy in patients with nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses and skin-base malignancies demonstrating the importance of long-term follow up of patients. Moreover, he actively collaborates with clinicians to set up  combinational therapies resultant of the use of radiotherapy and chemoradiotherapy to treat surgically inaccessible head and neck cancers.


Proton beam therapy (PBT) utilizes a beam of protons to selectively irradiate diseased tissue. In our department we have used PBT to successfully treat prostate cancer, early and locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer, head and neck cancer, including skull base tumours, hepatocellular carcinoma and soft tissue sarcoma.

The chief advantage of proton beam therapy over other types of conventional beam radiotherapies, i.e. Photon beam, is that, due to its unique nature, ionized protons will deliver the maximum dose over the the last few millimetres of the particle’s range while traveling through the tissue. Therefore, by making overlap this maximum or “Bragg peak” with the location of the tumour, PBT succeeds delivering high radiation dosage to the tumour, minimizing  the dose side effects to surrounding healthy tissue. Nonetheless, our team believes that therapeutic approaches to improve clinical outcomes after particle therapy cannot be only based on concentration of radiation dose to tumors, but also enhancement of radiosensitivity using combined Chemoradiation (CRT) with Particle therapy, ie. PBT. Chemoradiation has been established as standard treatment option for locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), esophageal cancer and pancreatic cancer. However, in locally advanced NSCLC and esophageal cancer, an excessive dose to healthy lungs or heart results in severe late toxicities, such as, pneumonitis or heart injuries, as well as, acute radiation morbidities. We consider that in these scenarios PBT combined with Chemoradiation, will radically improve CRT outcomes reducing the incidence and severity of complications.

Therefore, our team is focused on developing combined therapies result of the use of Chemoradio- and Proton bean therapy, since the excellent dose distribution of PBT reduces the risk of normal-tissue complications while allowing a satisfactory dose to target tumor.

In this lecture, we will present and discuss Proton beam Therapy applicability by referring clinical outcomes and current status of PBT in Japan. In addition, we will mention technical advancement of PBT including pencil beam scanning and its clinical effectiveness. 

Event Details

9.30am – 10.30 am. Proton beam therapy: state-of-the-art technology to target cancer.

10:30am-11:00am.  Morning Tea and nibbling.

Please RSVP to [email protected] for catering purposes only.