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ATLAS Project Research Members

National Cancer Center Hospital (Tokyo, Japan)

OKUMA Hitomi
 (Department of Medical Oncology & Clinical Research Support Office & Department of International Clinical Development)


OKUMA Hitomi MD, PhD 

Dr. Okuma's story

As a medical oncologist, I treat patients with breast cancer, gynecological cancer, and many kinds of rare cancers including sarcomas. Providing personalized medicine to these patients is my utmost priority. To do that, I have come to realize that treatment development including clinical trials is a very important aspect that I'd like to dedicate my life to. To overcome challenges, we now need to take a global approach that ensures cooperation among neighboring countries to speed up development for cancer patients.

Research interests

My main research interest is designing and conducting clinical research/trials. I am currently mainly responsible for conducting a project called the MASTER KEY Project (Japan & Asia), which is a platform study with a patient registry for rare cancers. These platform studies have the potential to promote clinical development for cancer patients. In this project, I am in charge of coordinating the multiple committees placed inside the project so that the project runs smoothly in the right direction. Also, along with the other researchers and biostatisticians, I plan and design clinical trials and also play a role in coordinating between the academic researchers and the multiple companies. The main goals of MASTER KEY are to accelerate drug approval for rare cancers by conquering the issues we and rare cancer patients are facing: 1) few hospitals carry out precise diagnosis and treatment, 2) molecular background is not well investigated, 3) the lack of clinical trials because of the low accrual rate and high cost despite the small market.

Professional Experiences

  • 2021-Present Medical Staff Department of Medical Oncology/ Clinical Trial Management Section, Research Management Division, Clinical Research Support Office
  • 2020-Present Head of International Research and Development Section, Department of International Clinical Development
  • 2018-2021 Medical Staff, Department of Breast and Medical Oncology/ Clinical Trial Management Section, Research Management Division, Clinical Research Support Office, National Cancer Center Hospital
  • 2016-2018 Chief Resident, Department of Breast and Medical Oncology, National Cancer Center Hospital
  • 2013-2016 Resident  Department of General Medical Oncology  National Cancer Center Hospital

Selected publications

  1. Takeyasu Y, Okuma HS, Kojima Y, Nishikawa T, Tanioka M, Sudo K, Shimoi T, Noguchi E, Arakawa A, Mori T, Sunami K, Kubo T, Kohno T, Akihiko Y, Yamamoto N, Yonemori K. Impact of ALK Inhibitors in Patients With ALK-Rearranged Nonlung Solid Tumors. JCO Precis Oncol. 2021 May 3;5:PO.20.00383.
  2. Okuma HS, Yonemori K, Narita SN, Sukigara T, Hirakawa A, Shimizu T, Shibata T, Kawai A, Yamamoto N, Nakamura K, Nishida T, Fujiwara Y. MASTER KEY Project: Powering Clinical Development for Rare Cancers Through a Platform Trial. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2020 Sep;108(3):596-605.
  3. Hirakawa A, Sudo K, Yonemori K, Sadachi R, Kinoshita F, Kobayashi Y, Okuma HS, Kawachi A, Tamura K, Fujiwara Y, Rubinstein L, Takebe N. A Comparative Study of Longitudinal Toxicities of Cytotoxic Drugs, Molecularly Targeted Agents, Immunomodulatory Drugs, and Cancer Vaccines.  Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2019 Oct;106(4):803-809.
  4. Okuma HS, Fujiwara Y. Have We Found the Key to Unravel Treatment Development Lags for Rare Cancers?: MASTER KEY Project. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2019 Sep;106(3):491-492.
  5. Okuma HS, Yonemori K. BRCA Gene Mutations and Poly(ADP-Ribose) Polymerase Inhibitors in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2017;1026:271-286.
  6. Okuma HS, Horinouchi H, Kitahara S, et al. Comparison of Amrubicin and Weekly Cisplatin/Etoposide/Irinotecan in Patients With Relapsed Small-cell Lung Cancer. Clin Lung Cancer. 2017 Mar;18(2):234-240.
  7. Okuma HS, Kobayashi Y, Makita S, et al. Disseminated herpes zoster infection initially presenting with abdominal pain in patients with lymphoma undergoing conventional chemotherapy: A report of three cases. Oncol Lett. 2016 Aug;12(2):809-814.
  8. Okuma HS, Kondo S. Trends in the development of MET inhibitors for hepatocellular carcinoma. Future Oncol. 2016 May;12(10):1275-86.
  9. Okuma HS, Koizumi F, Hirakawa A, et al. Clinical and microarray analysis of breast cancers of all subtypes from two prospective preoperative chemotherapy studies. Br J Cancer. 2016 Aug 9;115(4):411-9.
  10. Okuma HS, Iwasa S, Shoji H, et al. Irinotecan plus cisplatin in patients with extensive-disease poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinoma of the esophagus. Anticancer Res. 2014 Sep;34(9):5037-41.