Tumour tracking with scanned particle beams potentially requires accurate 3D information on both tumour motion and related density variations. We have previously developed a model-based motion reconstruction method, which allows for the prediction of deformable motions from sparsely sampled surrogate motions tracked via an on-board imaging system (Zhang et al (2013 Phys. Med. Biol. 58 8621)). Here, we investigate the potential effectiveness of tumour tracking for scanned proton beam therapy using such an approach to guide scanned beam tracking, together with the effectiveness of âre-trackingâ for reducing residual motion effects due to tracking uncertainties. Three different beam tracking strategies (2D, 2D deformable and 3D) have been applied to three different liver motion cases, with mean magnitudes ranging from 10â20 mm. All simulations have been performed using simulated 4DCTs derived from 4DMRI datasets, whereby inter-breath-cycle motion variability is taken into account. The results show that, without beam tracking, large interplay effects are observed for all motion cases, resulting in CTV D5â95 values of 34.9/58.5/79.4% for the three cases, respectively. These can be reduced to 16.9/18.8/29.1% with 2D tracking, to 15.5/17.9/23.3% with 2D deformable tracking and to 15.1/17.8/21.0% with 3D tracking. Clear âinverse interplayâ effects have also been observed in the proximal portion of the field. However, with three-times re-tracking, D5â95 for the largest motions (20 mm) can be reduced to 13.0/12.8% for 2D and 3D tracking, respectively, and âhot spotsâ resulting from the âinverse interplayâ effect can be substantially reduced. In summary, we have found that, for motions over 10 mm, tracking alone cannot fully mitigate motion effects, and can lead to substantially increased doses to normal tissues in the entrance path of the field. However, three-times re-tracking substantially improves the effectiveness of all types of beam tracking, with substantial advantages of 3D over 2D re-tracking only being observed for the largest motion scenario investigated.