Immunotherapy has revolutionized the treatment of melanoma. Targeting of the immune checkpoints cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 and programmed cell death protein 1 has led to improved survival in a subset of patients. Unfortunately, the use of immune checkpoint inhibitors is associated with significant side effects and many patients do not respond to treatment. Thus, there is an urgent need both for prognostic biomarkers to estimate risk and for predictive biomarkers to determine which patients are likely to respond to therapy. In this review, prognostic and predictive biomarkers that are an active area of research are outlined. Of note, certain transcriptomic signatures are already used in the clinic, albeit not routinely, to prognosticate patients. In the predictive setting, programmed cell death protein ligand 1 expression has been shown to correlate with benefit but is not precise enough to be used as an exclusionary biomarker. Future investigation will need to focus on biomarkers that are easily reproducible, cost effective, and accurate. The use of readily available clinical material, such as serum or hematoxylin and eosin-stained images, may offer one such path forward.
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