Over the last years, immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have demonstrated remarkable anti-tumor activity and beneficial effects in patients with early and advanced melanoma. However, ICIs provide clinical benefit only in a minority of patients due to primary and/or acquired resistance mechanisms. Immunotherapy resistance is a complex phenomenon relying on genetic and epigenetic factors, which ultimately influence the interplay between cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment. Information is accumulating on the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the production of resistance and the resulting diminished therapeutic efficacy. In addition, current knowledge on predictors of response and toxicity to immunotherapy and on biomarkers that reliably identify resistant patients is in progress. In this review, we will focus on the tumor microenvironment changes induced by ICIs in melanoma, summarizing the available evidence of clinical trials in the neoadjuvant and metastatic setting. We will also overview the role of potential biomarkers in predicting disease response to ICIs, providing insight into current and future research in this field.
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