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Annual Report 2017

Division of Health Services Research

Takahiro Higashi, Taro Tomizuka, Momoko Iwamoto, Tomone Watanabe, Izumi Inoue, Naoki Sakakibara, Ryoko Rikitake, Yoichiro Tsukada, Takehiro Sugiyama, Rei Goto, Kaoru Konno, Kazumi Shimamura, Reiko Sakano, Yuki Kaji, Natsu Kikuchi, Taisuke Ishii, Hiromasa Kanemura, Shu Yazaki, Yukari Isaka


 The Division of Health Services Research conducts research that contributes to the improvement of the quality of cancer care in Japan through meaningful evaluation of health systems and health policy performance.

Research activities

1. Cancer registry-linked DPC database

 As part of our ongoing initiative to monitor the quality of cancer care in Japan using a database of cancer registry-linked diagnosis procedure combination (DPC) data, we continuously built the database for cancer patients diagnosed in 2014. After collecting DPC data from a total of 424 hospitals, adherence to standards of care, which was previously devised based on the clinical guidelines, was analyzed using existing quality indicators (QIs) across cancers. In 2017, we successfully included 10 newly devised QIs for analysis in the field of cervical cancer. Analysis was performed on all newly devised QIs coupled with the 32 old existing QIs.

 The results were fed back to each participating hospital, followed by another voluntary data collection with regards to reasons for non-adherence. We then aggregated the data in order to present the final results as a paper-based report.

2. Rare Cancer Control Policy

 Our division has been assigned the administrative task of facilitating the Working Group for Rare Cancer Control Policy by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. In 2017, we continued to host two subcommittee meetings: one for soft tissue sarcomas of the extremities and another for eye tumor. In addition, we collected information regarding the current care practice for patients with soft tissue sarcomas of the extremities from hospitals across Japan and created an on-line information platform where patients can access freely.

3. Monitoring and Evaluation of National Cancer Control Programs

 Our division continued to implement evaluation programs in order to evaluate the recent Cancer Control Policy in Japan. In response to the revision added to the Cancer Control Act, we have reviewed the patient experience survey conducted in 2015. Together with the review, we hosted three focus group interviews in order to discuss potential outcome indicators. On the basis of the discussion, several indicators were newly added to the existing survey. The effort to continue measuring unfinished indicators was simultaneously underway. Among the indicators, we started measuring patients' understanding toward oral chemotherapy drugs.


 Our division accepted six visiting researchers and a nursing graduate student, and provided continuous education. We hosted four and one medical students from the University of Tokyo and Gunma University, respectively, for a clerkship in Public Health. We also established the Affiliate Graduate Program with the University of Tokyo's Department of Public Health/ Health Policy, opening doors to graduate school students who are interested in gaining hands-on public health training.

Future prospects

 Our division envisions facilitating evidencebased policymaking and improving the care of cancer patients by monitoring the performance of cancer policy and quality of care among cancer treatment centers across the country. To serve this purpose, we are working to provide an information exchange platform along with the solid baseline data for specialists and various stakeholders, designed to foster evidence based exchange of ideas for cancer policy planning.

List of papers published in January 2017 - March 2018


1. Tomizuka T, Namikawa K, Higashi T. Characteristics of melanoma in Japan: a nationwide registry analysis 2011-2013. Melanoma Res, 27:492-497, 2017

2. Inoue I, Nakamura F, Matsumoto K, Takimoto T, Higashi T. Cancer in adolescents and young adults: National incidence and characteristics in Japan. Cancer Epidemiol, 51:74-80, 2017

3. Inohara T, Numasawa Y, Higashi T, Ueda I, Suzuki M, Hayashida K, Yuasa S, Maekawa Y, Fukuda K, Kohsaka S. Predictors of high cost after percutaneous coronary intervention: A review from Japanese multicenter registry overviewing the influence of procedural complications. Am Heart J, 194:61-72, 2017

4. Ogura K, Higashi T, Kawai A. Statistics of bone sarcoma in Japan: Report from the Bone and Soft Tissue Tumor Registry in Japan. J Orthop Sci, 22:133-143, 2017

5. Okuyama A, Nakamura F, Higashi T. Prescription of Prophylactic Antiemetic Drugs for Patients Receiving Chemotherapy With Minimal and Low Emetic Risk. JAMA Oncol, 3:344-350, 2017

6. Rikitake R, Ando M, Saito Y, Yoshimoto S, Yamasoba T, Higashi T. Current status of superficial pharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma in Japan. Int J Clin Oncol, 22:826-833, 2017

7. Okuyama A, Higashi T. Patterns of cancer treatment in different age groups in Japan: an analysis of hospital-based cancer registry data, 2012-2015. Jpn J Clin Oncol, 48:417-425, 2018

8. Hamamoto Y, Sakakibara N, Nagashima F, Kitagawa Y, Higashi T. Treatment selection for esophageal cancer: evaluation from a nationwide database. Esophagus, 15:109-114, 2018

9. Tsukada Y, Higashi T, Shimada H, Kikuchi Y, Terahara A. The use of neoadjuvant therapy for resectable locally advanced thoracic esophageal squamous cell carcinoma in an analysis of 5016 patients from 305 designated cancer care hospitals in Japan. Int J Clin Oncol, 23:81-91, 2018