Combining targeted therapy and immune checkpoint inhibitors in the treatment of metastatic melanoma

Teresa Kim, Rodabe N. Amaria, Christine Spencer, Alexandre Reuben, Zachary A. Cooper, Jennifer A. Wargo


Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and has an incidence that is rising faster than any other solid tumor. Metastatic melanoma treatment has considerably progressed in the past five years with the introduction of targeted therapy (BRAF and MEK inhibitors) and immune checkpoint blockade (anti-CTLA4, anti-PD-1, and anti-PD-L1). However, each treatment modality has limitations. Treatment with targeted therapy has been associated with a high response rate, but with short-term responses. Conversely, treatment with immune checkpoint blockade has a lower response rate, but with long-term responses. Targeted therapy affects antitumor immunity, and synergy may exist when targeted therapy is combined with immunotherapy. This article presents a brief review of the rationale and evidence for the potential synergy between targeted therapy and immune checkpoint blockade. Challenges and directions for future studies are also proposed.

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