Excess body weight has been identified as a risk factor for many types of cancers, and for the majority of cancers, it is associated with poor outcomes. In contrast, there are cancers in which obesity is associated with favorable outcomes and this has been termed the “obesity paradox”. In melanoma, the connection between obesity and the increased incidence is not as strong as for other cancer types with some but not all studies showing an association. However, several recent studies have indicated that increased body mass index (BMI) improves survival outcomes in targeted and immune therapy treated melanoma patients. The mechanisms underlying how obesity leads to changes in therapeutic outcomes are not completely understood. This review discusses the current evidence implicating obesity in melanoma progression and patient response to targeted and immunotherapy, and discusses potential mechanisms underpinning these associations.
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