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Yale J Biol Med. 2011 Dec;84(4):381-9.

Ipilimumab and cancer immunotherapy: a new hope for advanced stage melanoma.

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  • 1Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA. mmansh@stanford.edu


Metastatic melanoma remains one of the most lethal and poorly treated forms of human cancer. Its incidence is on the rise, but no therapies offering improved survival rates have been developed over the last 40 years. This has changed with the recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the CTLA-4 function blocking antibody Ipilimumab (Yervoy), proven to extend life in patients with previously treated or untreated metastatic melanoma [39,40]. CTLA-4 is a receptor that normally functions to inhibit inappropriate or prolonged activation of T-cells. This review presents the history of initial research into the function of the CTLA-4 receptor, the pre-clinical evidence for CTLA-4 blockade's utility in cancer treatment, and the recent human clinical trials that have proven its efficacy in advanced stage melanoma. Ipilimumab represents one of a growing class of cancer immunotherapies currently under development and highlights both the promise and relative infancy of these agents in the clinical setting.


CTLA-4; T-cells; cancer; dermatology; immunology; immunotherapy; ipilimumab; melanoma; skin

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