Melanoma immunotherapy: Historical precedents, recent successes and future prospects

Marieke Ig Raaijmakers, Sima Rozati, Simone M. Goldinger, Daniel S. Widmer, Reinhard Dummer, Mitchell P. Levesque

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


The idea of cancer immunotherapy has been around for more than a century; however, the first immunotherapeutic ipilimumab, an anti-CTLA-4 antibody, has only recently been approved by the US FDA for melanoma. With an increasing understanding of the immune response, it is expected that more therapies will follow. This review aims to provide a general overview of immunotherapy in melanoma. We first explain the development of cancer immunotherapy more than a century ago and the general opinions about it over time. This is followed by a general overview of the immune reaction in order to give insight into the possible targets for therapy. Finally, we will discuss the current therapies for melanoma, their shortcomings and why it is important to develop patient stratification criteria. We conclude with an overview of recent discoveries and possible future therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-182
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • CTLA-4
  • Canvaxin™
  • PD-1
  • T-cell therapy
  • cancer immunotherapy
  • cancer testis antigens
  • immunotherapy
  • interferon
  • melanoma
  • vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Oncology


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