Melanoma is a leading cause of skin cancer mortality in the United States. Treatment for melanoma had been limited to very few agents, including chemotherapy, with older treatment options such as interferon and interleukin-2 causing toxic adverse effects. Since the approval of the monoclonal antibody ipilimumab in 2011, there have been several new drugs approved for metastatic melanoma. Recently, there have been approvals of kinase inhibitors and programmed death receptor-1 (PD-1) inhibitors for unresectable or metastatic melanoma, including vemurafenib, nivolumab, and pembrolizumab. These agents have been considered breakthrough therapies in the treatment of melanoma.
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