Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The emergence of human intratumoural immunotherapy (HIT-IT) is a major step forward in the management of unresectable melanoma. The direct injection of treatments into melanoma lesions can cause cell lysis and induce a local immune response, and might be associated with a systemic immune response. Directly injecting immunotherapies into tumours achieves a high local concentration of immunostimulatory agent while minimising systemic exposure and, as such, HIT-IT agents are associated with lower toxicity than systemic immune checkpoint inhibitors (CPIs), enabling their potential use in combination with other therapies. Consequently, multiple HIT-IT agents, including oncolytic viruses, pattern-recognition receptor agonists, injected CPIs, cytokines and immune glycolipids, are under investigation. This review considers the current clinical development status of HIT-IT agents as monotherapy and in combination with systemic CPIs, and the practical aspects of administering and assessing the response to these agents. The future of HIT-IT probably lies in its use in combination with systemic CPIs; data from Phase 2 trials indicate a synergy between HIT-IT and CPIs. Data also suggest that the addition of HIT-IT to a CPI might generate responses in CPI-refractory tumours, thereby overcoming resistance and addressing a current unmet need in unresectable and metastatic melanoma for treatment options following progression after CPI treatment.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date