The immunogenic characteristics of malignant melanoma are intriguing. To date, multiple studies exist regarding the immunogenicity of melanoma. In this article, we summarize data in the literature on the role of immunosuppression in melanoma and discuss several immunocompromised patient populations in detail. A comprehensive PubMed search was conducted with no date limitation. The following search terms were used: melanoma in combination with immunosuppression, immunocompromised, genetics, antigen processing, UV radiation, organ transplantation, organ transplant recipients, lymphoproliferative disease, lymphoma, CLL, NHL, radiation, and HIV/AIDS. Although no formal criteria were used for inclusion of studies, most pertinent studies on the topic were reviewed, with the exception of smaller case reports and case series. The included studies were generally large (≥ 1000 patients in organ transplant recipient studies; ≥ 500 patients in lymphoma studies), with a focus on institutional experiences, or population-based national or international epidemiologic studies. Melanoma-induced immunosuppression, the role of UV radiation in melanoma development, and the epidemiology, clinical course, and prognosis of melanoma in immunocompromised patients are highlighted. Organ transplant recipients, patients with lymphoproliferative disorders, patients with iatrogenic immunosuppression, and patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection/AIDS are also highlighted. Recommendations are proposed for the care and monitoring of immunosuppressed patients with melanoma. With better understanding of the molecular microenvironment and clinical course of melanoma in immunosuppressed patients, novel therapies could be developed and outcomes potentially affected in these patients.
Copyright © 2012 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.