An estimated 60,000 individuals in the United States and 132,000 worldwide are yearly diagnosed with melanoma. Until recently, treatment options for patients with stages III-IV metastatic disease were limited and offered marginal, if any, improvement in overall survival. The situation changed with the introduction of B-RAF inhibitors and anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 and anti-programmed cell death protein 1 immunotherapies into the clinical practice. With only some patients responding well to the immune therapies and with very serious side effects and high costs of immunotherapy, there is still room for other approaches for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. Targeted radionuclide therapy of melanoma could be divided into the domains of radioimmunotherapy (RIT), radiolabeled peptides, and radiolabeled small molecules. RIT of melanoma is currently experiencing a renaissance with the clinical trials of alpha-emitter 213Bi-labeled and beta-emitter 188Rhenium-labeled monoclonal antibodies in patients with metastatic melanoma producing encouraging results. The investigation of the mechanism of efficacy of melanoma RIT points at killing of melanoma stem cells by RIT and involvement of immune system such as complement-dependent cytotoxicity. The domain of radiolabeled peptides for targeted melanoma therapy has been preclinical so far, with work concentrated on radiolabeled peptide analogues of melanocyte-stimulating hormone receptor and on melanin-binding peptides. The field of radiolabeled small molecule produced radioiodinated benzamides that cross the cellular membrane and bind to the intracellular melanin. The recent clinical trial demonstrated measurable antitumor effects and no acute or midterm toxicities. We are hopeful that the targeted radionuclide therapy of metastatic melanoma would become a clinical reality as a stand-alone therapy or in combination with the immunotherapies such as anti-PD1 programmed cell death protein 1 monoclonal antibodies within the next few years.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging