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This article discusses current obstacles to the rapid development of safe and effective treatments for rare cancers, and considers measures required to overcome these challenges. In order to develop novel clinical options for rare cancers, which tend to remain left out of novel therapeutic development because of their paucity, efficient recruitment of eligible patients, who tend to be widely dispersed across the country and treated at different centers, is necessary. For this purpose, it is important to establish rare cancer registries that are linked with clinical studies, to organize a central pathological diagnosis system and biobanks for rare cancers, and to consolidate patients with rare cancers to facilities that can conduct clinical studies meeting international standards. Establishing an all‐Japan cooperative network is essential. Clinical studies of rare cancers have considerable limitations in study design and sample size as a result of paucity of eligible patients and, as a result, the level of confirmation of the efficacy and safety shown by the studies is relatively low. Therefore, measures to alleviate these weaknesses inherent to external conditions need to be explored. It is also important to reform the current research environment in order to develop world‐leading treatment for rare cancers, including promotion of basic research, collaboration between industry and academia, and improvement of the infrastructure for clinical studies. Collaboration among a wide range of stakeholders is required to promote the clinical development of treatment for rare cancers under a nationwide consensus.


  • Cancer science

    Cancer science 109(5), 1731-1737, 2018-05




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