Non-BRAF-targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and combination therapy for melanoma

Sara Tomei, Ena Wang, Lucia Gemma Delogu, Francesco M. Marincola, Davide Bedognetti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Melanoma is an aggressive disease characterized by a complex etiology. The discovery of key driving mutations (primarily BRAF mutations) led to the development of specific molecular inhibitors providing clinical benefit. Areas covered: Although BRAF-specific drugs have perhaps yielded the best results in melanoma-targeted therapy, there still remain several limitations, mostly due to the emergence of resistance and the lack of efficacy in patients without BRAF mutation. Novel drugs are currently being tested in clinical trials and showed encouraging results. Such drugs can specifically target molecular pathways aberrantly activated or repressed during melanoma development (targeted therapy) or act in a way to enhance the host immune system to fight cancer (immunotherapy). Here we provide a detailed overview of the current clinical strategies, which lay beyond BRAF-targeted therapy, spanning from molecular-targeted therapy to immunotherapy and to combination therapy. Expert opinion: Major advances in our understanding of the mechanisms behind melanoma development have led to the implementation of novel therapeutic drugs. Unfortunately, tools allowing prediction of responsiveness to a given treatment are not available yet. The increasing availability of high-throughput technologies will allow the elucidation of molecular mechanisms underlying responsiveness to cancer therapy and unveil an increased number of potential therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-686
Number of pages24
JournalExpert Opinion on Biological Therapy
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Adoptive T-cell transfer
  • Combination therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Melanoma
  • Targeted therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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