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Department of Radiation Oncology and Image-Applied Therapy, Kyoto University Hospital

Conditions Treated
Early-Stage Lung Cancer, Early-Stage Liver Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Head and Neck Cancer, Brain Cancer (Cerebral Tumors).

Treatment Method (3D Conformal Beam Radiotherapy)

Radiotherapy, standard among loco-regional cancer therapies, is superior in the preservation of healthy organs because it is non-surgical and thus avoids lesions. In practice, however, irradiation in high doses may, depending upon the shape of the cancer, cause damage to healthy organ tissue or cause other side effects. Also, susceptibility of the brain, vertebra, liver, kidneys, and other organs to damage through radiation renders conventional radiotherapy inappropriate for treatment of cancer tissues adjacent to those organs.

Stereotactic radiation therapy (SRT) and intensity modulation radiation therapy (IMRT) are the latest loco regional therapies and are highly effective in the destruction of tumor tissue while avoiding some of the problems associated with conventional radiotherapy by causing fewer side effects. These therapies deliver precisely targeted radiation at much higher doses than traditional radiation therapy, yet affect only tumor tissue while sparing the surrounding healthy tissue. These therapies were made possible by (1) development of diagnostic imaging that can determine the three-dimensional coordinates and shape of tumors within the body; and (2) IT innovations that can optimize radiation intensity based on the information provided by the diagnostic imaging system.

SRT allows precisely-targeted radiation to converge on a lesion by defining its exact size and shape. It delivers highly focused X-ray beams from different angles and planes (in 3D) at the same time. This device is appropriate for treating small and hard-to-reach lesions and is especially applicable for treatment of early-stage lung and liver cancers.

IMRT, on the other hand, calculates intensity levels and delivers radiation at intricate angles geometrically matched to the shape of a tumor, so that only the necessary radiation doses reach specific areas within the tumor. It requires immobilization and careful positioning of the target organs during each session, and for this reason is not suitable for the treatment of cancer in organs that move substantially as part of their normal functioning. It is, however, effective for treating larger cancer lesions adjacent to normal tissues, as in prostate cancer, head and neck cancer, and brain tumors.

Features of Our Department

Dr. Masahiro Hiraoka, Directing Professor of the Department of Radiation Oncology and Image Applied Therapy, is a pioneer in the development of 1oco-regional cancer therapy, especially 3D conformal beam radiotherapy. His specialties include stereotactic radiotherapy for the treatment of solitary pulmonary tumors, IMRT for treating prostate cancer, and other 3D conformal beam radiotherapies.

Number of Cases (2011)

SRT 171 cases
Brain 117 cases
Trunk (Lung Cancer, Liver Cancer) 54 cases
IMRT 195 cases
Prostate Cancer 130 cases
Head and Neck Cancer 30 cases
Other 35 cases

At present, Japan is a world leader in the application of stereotactic therapy to early-stage lung cancer, and our department is among only a few core facilities. With regard to IMRT, we are highly experienced in working with prostate cancer and other cancers and we rank as one of the top hospitals in Japan in terms of the cumulative number of cases treated since the year 2000. The 5-year survival rate has reached 95% at our hospital. IMRT can be applied to the treatment of advanced metastatic cancer in surrounding lymph nodes, which is very rarely performed in other medical institutions. We also have had success in treating head and neck cancer using IMRT.

We also actively contribute to the technological innovation required to make these therapies possible. The RapidArc™ intensity-modulated rotation irradiation device and the cutting-edge image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) device were both developed by our institution in cooperation with private industry. The RapidArc™ rotates 360 degrees around the patient and greatly reduces the irradiation time per treatment. The image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT) device, equipped with diagnostic X-rays, achieves extremely precise delivery of radiation to the target tissue.

A Message to International Patients from Dr. Masahiro Hiraoka at Our Department

Our institution has worked diligently to promote radiation therapy and cultivate human resources in the interest of returning patients to fully normal lives and achieving our goal of becoming capable of treating all cancers without surgery. We have successfully developed and installed within our hospital a new radiation therapy device that can deliver radiation to a tumor in motion due to breathing (see the figure to the right). The treatment of prostate cancer through pre-hormonal therapy combined with IMRT has had successful results. The risk of side effects caused by this therapy is low. We are committed to the continuing development of therapies that allow for the preservation of organ function and the return of patients to a fully normal life.


Dr. Tetsuo Akimoto
Dr. Masahiro Hiraoka

Dr. Masahiro Hiraoka is Professor of Radiation Oncology/Image-Applied Therapy in the Department
of Radiation Oncology and Image-Applied Therapy, Kyoto University Hospital.
He graduated from Kyoto University School of Medicine in 1977. He has served as the first director of the Cancer Center at Kyoto University Hospital, the chief director of the Japan Society of Clinical Oncology and a member of the board of directors for the Japan Radiological Society, the Japanese Breast Cancer Society, the Japanese Society for Thermal Medicine, and others.
Currently, he is chairperson of the board of directors for the Japanese Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology and the Japanese Board of Cancer Therapy. On June 20, 2008, he received the Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister’ s Award for developing cutting-edge radiation equipment capable of irradiating a moving cancer through tracking. Then on April 10, 2009, he received the Prof. Komei Nakayama Prize of the Japan Society of Clinical Oncology.

  • Li Z, et al. Preparation of magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles for hyperthermia of cancer in a FeCl2-NaNO3-NaOH aqueous system. J Biomater Appl. 2011; 25: 643-61.
  • Matsuo Y, et al. Characterization of FDG-PET images after stereotactic body radiation therapy for lung cancer. Radiother Oncol. 2010; 97: 200-4.
  • Matsuo Y, et al. Prognostic factors in stereotactic body radiotherapy for non-small-cell lung cancer. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011; 79: 1104-11.

Overview of the Treatment Schedule (Model Cases: Lung Cancer/Prostate Cancer)

Licensed Chinese medicine practitioners are also available at our facility and Chinese language interpretation can be arranged.

Overview of Treatment Schedule


Image-Guided Radiotherapy System Private Rooms in “Sekiteito” Private Rooms in “Sekiteito” Private Rooms in “Sekiteito”
Image-Guided Radiotherapy System In addition to 3D conformal radiation therapy, it is equipped with a dynamic tracking function. Private Rooms in Sekiteito
Sekiteito, which opened in May 2010, is a cancer therapy ward equipped with state-of-the-art medical facilities, and we take multidisciplinary approaches to care. Some of the rooms in SS and SA are fully equipped with a bath, restroom, kitchen, living room, and a room specially prepared for your caregiver.
Established 1899
Clinical Departments
Outpatient Oncology Unit (Prostate Cancer, Esophageal Cancer, Brain Tumors, Lung Cancer. Pancreatic Cancer, Breast Cancer, Head and Neck Cancer), Outpatient Clinical Wing (Other Cancers). Central Clinical Wing Basement Floor/ Radiotherapy Division (for patients undergoing treatment only)
Payment Methods
Credit Card (VISA, JCB, MasterCard, American Express)
54 Shogoin, Kawahara-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 606-8507


700 m walk from the Keihan Railways
Jingu Maruta-machi Station
Approximately 30 minutes from Kyoto Station by bus
110 minutes from Kansai International Airport by car