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Dermatol Surg. 2011 Oct;37(10):1377-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2011.02070.x. Epub 2011 Aug 1.

Immunotherapy for cutaneous malignancy.

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  • 1Division of Dermatologic Surgery, Department of Dermatology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York 14623, USA.



Immunotherapy for cutaneous malignancy involves manipulating the immune system to treat and prevent skin cancer. Although initial efforts were fraught with low success rates and technical challenges, more-recent endeavors have yielded response rates approaching 50% for treating metastatic melanoma. Many of these advances are a result of increasing knowledge of the immune system's intricacies and continued progress in laboratory techniques.


To review our current understanding of the skin immune system and discuss how these factors contribute to the host response to malignancy and to report the current state of immunotherapeutic techniques.


An extensive PubMed literature search was conducted in topics involving immunotherapy with specific relevance to cutaneous malignancy using the MeSH terms "immunotherapy" and "skin cancer."


Despite initially poor patient responses to these treatment modalities, recent gains in scientific knowledge and clinical intervention protocols have brought immunotherapy to the forefront of prospective skin cancer therapeutics, particularly for advanced melanoma.


Current treatment options for advanced cutaneous malignancies such as melanoma are low in efficacy. Immunotherapies have the potential to provide novel approaches to address this, particularly when used in combination. The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.

© 2011 by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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