Cancer cells, particularly melanoma can be very skillful at avoiding recognition and attack by the bodies defenses. Novel immunotherapy with checkpoint blockade can help the patients’ immune system recognize and attack previously hidden cancer cells. A recent retrospective study demonstrates a significant improvement in 4 year overall survival in patients with advanced metastatic melanoma after FDA approval of these therapies. There is a long way to go, but now we can clearly see light at the end of the tunnel. It seems to me the ultimate “cancer cure” of the future will be through the patients own immune system, not chemotherapy, radiation or surgery.


Improved Risk-Adjusted Survival for Melanoma Brain Metastases in the Era of Checkpoint Blockade Immunotherapies: Results from a National Cohort
J. Bryan Iorgulescu, Maya Harary, Cheryl K. Zogg, Keith L. Ligon, David A. Reardon, F. Stephen Hodi, Ayal A. Aizer and Timothy R. Smith
Cancer Immunol Res September 1 2018 (6) (9) 1039-1045; DOI:10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-18-0067