Targeted therapeutic strategies for melanoma

Chin Med J (Engl). 2023 May 5. doi: 10.1097/CM9.0000000000002692. Online ahead of print.


Melanoma accounts for a small proportion of skin cancers diagnosed each year, but it has a high degree of malignancy and rapid progression, resulting in a short survival period for patients. The incidence of melanoma continues to rise, and now melanoma accounts for 1.7% of cancer diagnoses worldwide and is the fifth most common cancer in the United States. With the development of high-throughput sequencing technologies, the understanding of the pathophysiology of melanoma had also been improved. The most common activating mutations in melanoma cells are BRAF, NRAS, and KIT mutations, which disrupt cell signaling pathways related to tumor proliferation. The progress has led to the emergence of molecularly targeted drugs, which extends the survival of patients with advanced melanoma. A large number of clinical trials have been conducted to confirm that targeted therapy for patients with advanced melanoma can improve progression-free survival and overall survival, and for stage III patients after radical tumor resection targeted therapy can reduce the recurrence of melanoma. Patients who were originally stage III or IV inoperable have the opportunity to achieve tumor radical resection after targeted therapy. This article reviewed the clinical trial data and summarized the clinical benefits and limitations of these therapies.