Neoadjuvant chemotherapy has been successfully tested in several bulky solid tumors, but it has not been utilized in advanced cutaneous melanoma, primarily because effective medical treatments for this disease have been lacking. However, with the development of new immunotherapies (monoclonal antibodies specific for cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 [anti-CTLA-4] and programmed death protein-1 [anti-PD1]) and small molecules interfering with intracellular pathways (anti-BRAF and mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase [anti- MEK]) the use of this approach is becoming a viable treatment strategy for locally advanced melanoma.
The neoadjuvant setting provides a double opportunity for a better knowledge of these drugs: a short-term evaluation of their intrinsic activity, and a deeper analysis of their action and resistance-induction mechanisms. BRAF inhibitors seem to be ideal candidates for the neoadjuvant setting, because of their prompt, repeatedly confirmed response in V600E BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma.
In this report we summarize studies focused on the neoadjuvant use of traditional medical treatments in advanced melanoma and anecdotal cases of this approach with the use of biologic therapies. Moreover, we discuss our experience with neoadjuvant targeted therapy as a priming for radical surgery in a patient with BRAF V600E mutation-positive advanced melanoma.
Article first published online: 19 June 2014
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Citation: [La Greca M, Grasso G, Antonelli G, Russo AE, Bartolotta S,
D’Angelo A, Vitale FV, Ferraù F.Neoadjuvant therapy for locally
advanced melanoma: new strategies with targeted therapies. OncoTargets
and Therapy. 2014; (7):1115 – 1121].
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