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GIORNALE ITALIANO DI DERMATOLOGIA E VENEREOLOGIA

A Journal on Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases


Official Journal of the Italian Society of Dermatology and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
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Giornale Italiano di Dermatologia e Venereologia 2006 February;141(1):33-43

Copyright © 2006 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Melanoma vaccines. A review

Elias E. G.

Department of Surgery Weinberg Cancer Institute Franklin Square Hospital Center Baltimore, MD, USA


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There is no effective treatment other than surgery for patients with all types of melanoma. Patients' survival depends on the stage of the disease. Once the disease has spread, there is no cure. Melanoma patients die of systemic metastases and, therefore, systemic therapy is to be administered early in the course of the disease, after potentially curative surgery, to prevent or at least delay disease recurrence. This is known as adjuvant therapy. Chemotherapy and hormonal therapy failed to show any survival benefits. Therefore, major emphasis has been placed on immunotherapy, which includes biotherapy and vaccines. These are intended to stimulate the immune system of the patient against the micrometastases, which were not eliminated by surgery. In this review, several types of melanoma vaccines are presented. These include the whole cell melanoma vaccines (allogenic or autologous), melanoma cell lysates, melanoma cell shed antigens, peptide vaccines and others. There are advantages and disadvantages to each vaccine. While the ideal vaccine may be constituted of melanoma specific antigens, unfortunately the exact number of these antigens needed to stimulate an antitumor response remains unknown. In conclusion, autologous whole cell melanoma vaccines seem to be the most beneficial when administered to high-risk patients. The role of adding biotherapy to a vaccine is being investigated

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