Current possibilities of immunotherapy for melanoma: a review of the literature


  • K.D. Cherchenko Bogomolets National Medical University, Kyiv, Ukraine Kyiv City Clinical Oncology Center, Kyiv, Ukraine,



cutaneous melanoma, advanced and metastatic forms, immunotherapy, PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors, nivolumab, pembrolizumab, review


Cutaneous melanoma is a neuroectodermal malignant tumor with high metastatic potential and low chemotherapy response rates that worsens the prognosis of patients with advanced and non-resectable forms. This article provides an overview of recent clinical studies on new immunosuppressive drugs: PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors, the use of which is a promising treatment for cutaneous melanoma that cannot be treated surgically. The purpose of our work was to analyze studies on the anti-PD-1/PD-L1 therapy effectiveness in advanced cutaneous melanoma, comparing it with traditional chemotherapy and other targeted therapies and immunotherapy. Materials and interpretations of clinical trials CheckMate 037, CheckMate 067, KEYNOTE-001, KEYNOTE-002, KEYNOTE-006, KEYNOTE-054; data from NCBI, PubMed, NCCN, ESMO, FDA, NCBI, official recommendations for anti-PD-1 immunotherapy drugs were analyzed. PD-1 inhibitor therapy shows better results and prognostic data for the advanced cutaneous melanoma treatment than traditional chemotherapy. Adverse events related to treatment, including stages III and IV, are less commonly reported with PD-1 inhibitor treatment than with chemotherapy. The use of PD-1 inhibitors shows good results in asymptomatic and symptomatic patients with brain metastases, including those requiring systemic corticosteroid therapy. It is advisable to use anti-PD-1 therapy as a first line in both non-resectable and metastatic forms of cutaneous melanoma and in the adjuvant mode in patients with stages ІІІ and IV of disease.


Skin cancer statistics [Електронний ресурс]. Режим доступу до ресурсу:

William H. Ward. Cutaneous Melanoma. Etiology and Therapy Farma. Philadelphia, PA, USA: Codon Publications, 2017.

D’Souza G. Stage 4 melanoma: What you need to know [Електронний ресурс]. 2018. Режим доступу до ресурсу:

Федоренко З.П., Гулак Л.О., Михайлович Ю.Й. та ін. Рак в Україні, 2017–2018. Захворюваність, смертність, показники діяльності онкологічної служби. Бюл. Нац. канцер-реєстру України. 2019. С. 130.

Yang A. The History and Future of Chemotherapy for Melanoma. Hematol. Oncol. Clin. North Am. 2009. № 23. С. 583-x.

Ascierto P. Adjuvant therapy of melanoma with interferon: lessons of the past decade. J. Transl. Med. 2008. № 6. С. 62.

Dummer R., Hauschild A., Lindenblatt N. та ін. Cutaneous melanoma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Annals of Oncology. 2015. № 26. С. 126-132.

Cutaneous melanoma: NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology. 2019.

Sunshine J., Nguyen P., Kaunitz G. та ін. PD-L1 Expression in Melanoma: A Quantitative Immunohistochemical Antibody Comparison [Електронний ресурс]. 2017. Режим доступу до ресурсу:

Robert C., Long G., Brady B. та ін. Nivolumab in previously untreated melanoma without BRAF mutation. N. Engl. J. Med. 2015. № 372. С. 320-30.

Robert C., Schachter J., Long G. та ін. Pembrolizumab versus Ipilimumab in Advanced Melanoma. N. Engl. J. Med. 2015. № 372. С. 2521-32.

Larkin J., Minor D., D'Angelo S. та ін. Overall Survival in Patients with Advanced Melanoma who Received Nivolumab Versus Investigator’s Choice Chemotherapy in CheckMate 037: A Rando­mized, Controlled, Open-Label Phase III Trial. J. Clin. Oncol. 2018. № 36. С. 383-390.

Hamid O., Puzanov I., Dummer R. та ін. Final analysis of a randomised trial comparing pembrolizumab versus investigator-choice chemotherapy for ipilimumab-refractory advanced melanoma. Eur. J. Cancer. 2017. № 86. С. 37-45.

Hodi F., Chiarion-Sileni V., Gonzalez та ін. Nivolumab plus ipilimumab or nivolumab alone versus ipilimumab alone in advanced melanoma (CheckMate 067): 4-year outcomes of a multicentre, randomised, phase 3 trial. Lancet Oncol. 2018. № 19.

P. 1480-1492.

Hamid O., Robert C., Daud A. та ін. Five-year survival outcomes for patients with advanced melanoma treated with pembrolizumab in KEYNOTE-001. Annals of Oncology. 2019. № 30. С. 582-588.

Robert C., Ribas A., Schachter J. та ін. Pembrolizumab versus ipilimumab in advanced melanoma [KEYNOTE-006]: post-hoc 5-year results from an open-label, multicentre, randomised, controlled, phase 3 study. The Lancet Oncology. 2019. № 20. С. 1239-1251.

Eggermont A.M.M., Blank C.U., Mandala M. та ін. Adjuvant Pembrolizumab versus Placebo in Resected Stage III Melanoma. Engl. J. Med. 2018. № 378(19). Р. 1789-1801.

Parakh S., Park J., Mendis S. та ін. Efficacy of anti-PD-1 therapy in patients with melanoma brain metastases. Br. J. Cancer. 2017. № 116. С. 1558-1563.

Lepir T., Zaghouani M., Roche S. та ін. Nivolumab to pembrolizumab switch induced a durable melanoma response: A case report. [Електронний ресурс]. 2019. Режим доступу до ресурсу:

Keytruda (pembrolizumab) Dosing & Uses [Електронний ресурс]. Режим доступу до ресурсу:

Opdivo (nivolumab) Dosing & Uses [Електронний ресурс]. Режим доступу до ресурсу:

Yervoy (ipilimumab) Dosing & Uses [Електронний ресурс]. Режим доступу до ресурсу: