Oncology Central

Weighing up the pros and cons of immune checkpoint inhibitors in the treatment of melanoma


The advent of monoclonal antibodies functioning as immune checkpoint inhibitors has changed the way advanced melanoma is treated. CTLA-4 inhibitors such as ipilimumab and the PD-1 inhibitors pembrolizumab and nivolumab all have an established place in the management of metastatic disease. They improve response rates, progression-free and overall survival compared with cytotoxic chemotherapy. In fact, ipilimumab was the first treatment ever to demonstrate an overall survival benefit in advanced melanoma, when compared with the comparator arms of dacarbazine [1] and the vaccine gp100 [2]. As such, even though it can be associated with potentially serious toxicity, the pros clearly outweigh the cons.

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