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Italian Journal of Dermatology and Venereology 2021 Apr 29

DOI: 10.23736/S2784-8671.21.06936-4


language: English

New systemic therapies for cutaneous melanoma: why, who and what

Riccardo PAMPENA 1, Simone MICHELINI 2, Michela LAI 1, 3, Johanna CHESTER 3, Giovanni PELLACANI 3, Caterina LONGO 1, 3

1 Centro Oncologico ad Alta Tecnologia Diagnostica, Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale, IRCCS di Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy; 2 Department of Dermatology, La Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy; 3 Department of Dermatology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy


Incidence of melanoma has been increasing in both sexes in the last decades. Advanced melanoma has always been one of the deadliest cancer worldwide due to his high metastatic capacity. In the last ten years, progresses in the knowledge of the molecular mechanisms involved in the melanoma development and progression, and in immune-response against melanoma, empowered the development of two new classes of systemic therapeutic agents: target-therapies and immunotherapies. Both of these classes consist of monoclonal antibodies inhibiting specific molecules. Target-therapies are selectively directed against cells harbouring the BRAFV600-mutation, while immunotherapies target the two molecules involved in immune-checkpoint regulation, enhancing the immune response against the tumor: cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) and programmed cell death-1 receptor (PD-1). Target- and immunotherapy demonstrated to improve both progression-free and overall survival in melanoma patients either in metastatic or in adjuvant settings. Several drugs have been approved in recent years as monotherapy or in combination, and many other drugs are currently under investigation in clinical trials. In the current review on new systemic therapies for cutaneous melanoma, we revise the molecular basis and the mechanisms of actions of both target- and immunotherapy (why). We discuss who are the best candidate to receive such therapies in both the adjuvant and metastatic setting (who) and which are the most important efficacy and safety data on these drugs (what).

KEY WORDS: Melanoma; Checkinhibitors; Therapy

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