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Oncology (Williston Park). 2016 May;30(5):436-41.

The Role of Intralesional Therapies in Melanoma.


The US Food and Drug Administration has been rapidly approving new checkpoint inhibitors and targeted therapies for melanoma and other tumors. Recently, it approved the first intralesional therapy, talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC), for the treatment of metastatic melanoma lesions in the skin and lymph nodes. Several other intralesional therapies (PV-10, interleukin-12 electroporation, coxsackievirus A21 [CVA21]) are entering later-stage testing. Locally injected agents have clearly shown their ability to produce local responses that can be durable. The possibility that they also stimulate a regional and even systemic immune response is exciting, as this potential effect may have utility in combination regimens; such regimens are an area of active research. Favorable responses with minimal toxicities in monotherapy trials have led to the first melanoma studies of T-VEC in combination with the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 inhibitor ipilimumab and, separately, with the programmed death 1-blocking antibody pembrolizumab. Studies of PV-10 with pembrolizumab and of CVA21 with pembrolizumab are also being initiated. Preliminary analyses of the results of the first combination trials, which show higher response rates than with either agent alone, offer some optimism that these locoregional therapies will find application--as treatment for patients who cannot tolerate systemic immunotherapies, to alleviate locoregional morbidity, and perhaps even to "prime" the immune system.

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