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Rapidly Evolving Pre- and Post-surgical Systemic Treatment of Melanoma.

With the development of effective BRAF-targeted and immune-checkpoint immunotherapies for metastatic melanoma, clinical trials are moving these treatments into earlier adjuvant and perioperative settings. BRAF-targeted therapy is a standard of care in resected stage III-IV melanoma, while anti-programmed death-1 (PD1) immunotherapy is now a standard of care option in resected stage IIB through IV disease. With both modalities, recurrence-free survival and distant-metastasis-free survival are improved by a relative 35-50%, yet no improvement in overall survival has been demonstrated. Neoadjuvant anti-PD1 therapy improves event-free survival by approximately an absolute 23%, although improvements in overall survival have yet to be demonstrated. Understanding which patients are most likely to recur and which are most likely to benefit from treatment is now the highest priority question in the field. Biomarker analyses, such as gene expression profiling of the primary lesion and circulating DNA, are preliminarily exciting as potential biomarkers, though each has drawbacks. As in the setting of metastatic disease, markers that inform positive outcomes include interferon-γ gene expression, PD-L1, and high tumor mutational burden, while negative predictors of outcome include circulating factors such as lactate dehydrogenase, interleukin-8, and C-reactive protein. Integrating and validating these markers into clinically relevant models is thus a high priority. Melanoma therapeutics continues to advance with combination adjuvant approaches now investigating anti-PD1 with lymphocyte activation gene 3 (LAG3), T-cell immunoreceptor with Ig and ITIM domains (TIGIT), and individualized neoantigen therapies. How this progress will be integrated into the management of a unique patient to reduce recurrence, limit toxicity, and avoid over-treatment will dominate clinical research and patient care over the next decade.

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