Nivolumab and pembrolizumab as immune-modulating monoclonal antibodies targeting the PD-1 receptor to treat melanoma

Elnaz Faghfuri, Mohammad Ali Faramarzi, Shekoufeh Nikfar, Mohammad Abdollahi
Expert Review of Anticancer Therapy 2015, 15 (9): 981-93
Malignant melanoma is an important issue in oncology due to its high incidence, high mortality, and resistance to systemic therapy; however, targeted immunotherapy has noticeably improved the survival rates of melanoma patients. Promising targeted immunotherapies for malignant melanoma include the blockade of immune checkpoints with antibodies targeting cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 and the programmed cell death protein 1 pathway. The US FDA-approved antibody ipilimumab targets cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4; however, it was limited by toxicity and a low response. Nivolumab and pembrolizumab (formerly lambrolizumab), the two FDA-approved anti-programmed death-1 monoclonal antibodies, show highly durable response rates and long-term safety, validating the importance of the programmed cell death protein 1 pathway blockade for treatment of malignant melanoma.

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