Article Highlight | 3-May-2024

Advancing genomic medicine: National Cancer Center Japan's role in personalized cancer treatment

China Anti-Cancer Association

In a significant stride towards personalized cancer care, the National Cancer Center Japan (NCCJ) has marked a decade of progress in cancer genomic medicine (CGM). A comprehensive review outlines the evolution of CGM in Japan, highlighting the pivotal role of the NCCJ in this advancement. The study encapsulates the historical milestones, current achievements, and future directions in the field of CGM.

The journey of cancer genomic medicine (CGM) began in the 1980s, with the discovery of various genomic and epigenomic alterations in cancer cells from various countries including Japan. This led to the development of molecular targeted therapies in the 2000s. Despite its relative novelty, CGM has already made significant contributions to cancer research and patient care. The National Cancer Center (NCC) Japan (NCCJ) has been instrumental in these developments, with a focus on building a biobank, introducing new technologies, and fostering collaborations across academia, industry, and regulatory bodies.

A new review (DOI: 10.20892/j.issn.2095-3941.2023.0036) published in Cancer Biology & Medicine, May 2023, by the NCCJ has set the stage for transformative developments in oncology. This review outlines the progress of CGM in Japan, emphasizing significant breakthroughs and underscoring the pivotal role of the NCCJ in promoting precision medicine."

The NCC has developed an extensive biobank, which has been crucial for CGM. The hospital-based biobank contains a wealth of samples linked to longitudinal clinical information, facilitating omics analyses. The NCC has also been at the forefront of adopting new technologies, such as whole-genome sequencing and artificial intelligence, to enhance functional and pharmacologic analyses. A notable success story is the discovery and translation of the RET fusion in lung adenocarcinoma (LADC), which has led to the development of targeted therapies. The NCC Oncopanel System, a multi-gene panel test, has been approved and reimbursed for use by the National Health Insurance System, achieving a significant milestone in making CGM publicly accessible in Japan.

Teruhiko Yoshida, a leading authority in the field and the corresponding author of the review, states, "The future of CGM will involve a biobank of paired cancerous and non-cancerous tissues, the introduction of cutting-edge technologies like whole-genome sequencing, and a further expansion of personalized preventive medicine based on individual genetic predispositions to cancer in addition to the cancer treatment."

The research has direct implications for the future of cancer control strategy in Japan. The biobank and the advancements in genomic sequencing are set to personalize cancer treatment and prevention, potentially improving patient outcomes and survival rates. The data accumulated through these initiatives will also be critical for evaluating the impact of genomic medicine on patient benefits.





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About Cancer Biology & Medicine

Cancer Biology & Medicine (CBM) is a peer-reviewed open-access journal sponsored by China Anti-cancer Association (CACA) and Tianjin Medical University Cancer Institute & Hospital. The journal monthly provides innovative and significant information on biological basis of cancer, cancer microenvironment, translational cancer research, and all aspects of clinical cancer research. The journal also publishes significant perspectives on indigenous cancer types in China. The journal is indexed in SCOPUS, MEDLINE and SCI (IF 5.5, 5 year IF 6.1), with all full texts freely visible to clinicians and researchers all over the world (

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