Immunotherapy Basics in Melanoma

There are 3 major immunothearpy agents in the melanoma space. Hear one expert talk about them.

Mario Sznol, MD, professor of medicine and co-leader of cancer immunology at the Yale Cancer Center, discusses the most important immunotherapy agents in the field of melanoma.


Well at the moment there's really 2 major immunotherapy options in melanoma, maybe 3 if you count T-VEC, although I would say that's used relatively rarely in the clinic. The 2 most important drugs are anti-PD1, which are nivolumab (Opdivo) or pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and the other drug is anti-CTLA4, which is ipilimumab (Yervoy).

Anti-PD1 alone can give you long-term survival (rates) in the range of 40% to 45%. Anti-CTLA4 may add about another 7% to 10%, so that survival rate at 5 years. We tend to use either anti-PD1 alone or the combination of anti-PD1 and ipilimumab in the frontline setting in patients with metastatic melanoma.