Mechanisms driving melanoma immunotherapy

Source: Dermatology Times, August 2019

New immunotherapy medications have shown a durable clinical benefit in cancer patients, including those with malignant melanoma. It is important for clinicians to understand the intricacies of the immune mechanisms driving these evolving immunotherapies in order to provide guidance when patients seek advice on best treatment and management strategies, one expert says.

“Melanoma is one type of cancer that is most relevant when it comes to tumor immunology since it is one of the most immunogenic tumors. As such, it should be one of the central goals of dermatologists to gain a better understanding of immunologic pathways as well as the mechanisms of new and evolving immunotherapies, as these are key for understanding many current and emerging treatments,” says Delphine J. Lee, M.D., chief of dermatology and residency program director at Harbor UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles.

There are several melanoma immunotherapies that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including immune checkpoint inhibitors, adoptive cell transfer, as well as vaccines like Bacillus Calmette–Guérin and cytokines that can be used to enhance the host’s immune response to fight the tumor.

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