Update on benefit of immunotherapy and targeted therapy in melanoma: the changing landscape
Neeharika Srivastava, David McDermott
Department of Hematology/Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA
Abstract: Malignant melanoma is on the rise. There have been recent advances in targeted agents and immunotherapies that have improved the management and treatment of patients with advanced melanoma. This review discusses the clinical efficacy and unique side effects of targeted immunotherapy and the role of predictive biomarkers in better selection of patients who would derive most benefit from specific treatments. Additionally, this review addresses concerns about the best sequencing algorithms for the currently available targeted agents. By thoroughly and extensively researching through PubMed and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 69 published articles and abstracts were identified as addressing topics related to malignant melanoma and immunotherapy. The research was divided into subcategories discussing cytokine-based therapy, immunotherapy, molecularly targeted agents, other novel targeted agents, and combination regimens for malignant melanoma. New immune checkpoint inhibitors and targeted agents are able to improve immune-mediated regulatory effects against tumors and, specifically in advanced melanoma, are associated with improvement in overall survival. These new agents have distinct side effects that are often controlled and reversed with dose reductions and/or use of corticosteroids. Currently, there are clinical trials underway to assess the role of combination therapy, whereas other trials are focusing on devising algorithms to delineate how best to sequentially administer these drugs. Although there has been tremendous progress in the management of advanced melanoma with immunotherapy and targeted agents, there is still much to be learned about clinically useful predictive biomarkers and combination therapies as well as how to administer these agents safely.
Keywords: melanoma, immunotherapy, ipilimumab, vemurafenib, PD-1, PD-L1
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