Malignant melanoma is an important issue in oncology due to its high incidence, high mortality, and resistance to systemic therapy; however, targeted immunotherapy has noticeably improved the survival rates of melanoma patients. Promising targeted immunotherapies for malignant melanoma include the blockade of immune checkpoints with antibodies targeting cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 and the programmed cell death protein 1 pathway. The US FDA-approved antibody ipilimumab targets cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4; however, it was limited by toxicity and a low response. Nivolumab and pembrolizumab (formerly lambrolizumab), the two FDA-approved anti-programmed death-1 monoclonal antibodies, show highly durable response rates and long-term safety, validating the importance of the programmed cell death protein 1 pathway blockade for treatment of malignant melanoma.
Keywords: PD-1 receptor; melanoma; monoclonal antibody; nivolumab; pembrolizumab.