Background: Cutaneous malignancies most commonly arise from skin epidermal cells. These cancers
may rapidly progress from benign to a metastatic phase. Surgical resection represents the gold standard
therapeutic treatment of non-metastatic skin cancer while chemo- and/or radiotherapy are often used against
metastatic tumors. However, these therapeutic treatments are limited by the development of resistance and toxic
side effects, resulting from the passive accumulation of cytotoxic drugs within healthy cells.
Objective: This review aims to elucidate how the use of monoclonal Antibodies (mAbs) targeting specific Tumor
Associated Antigens (TAAs) is paving the way to improved treatment. These mAbs are used as therapeutic
or diagnostic carriers that can specifically deliver cytotoxic molecules, fluorophores or radiolabels to cancer
cells that overexpress specific target antigens.
Results: mAbs raised against TAAs are widely in use for e.g. differential diagnosis, prognosis and therapy of
skin cancers. Antibody-Drug Conjugates (ADCs) particularly show remarkable potential. The safest ADCs
reported to date use non-toxic photo-activatable Photosensitizers (PSs), allowing targeted Photodynamic Therapy
(PDT) resulting in targeted delivery of PS into cancer cells and selective killing after light activation without
harming the normal cell population. The use of near-infrared-emitting PSs enables both diagnostic and
therapeutic applications upon light activation at the specific wavelengths.
Conclusion: Antibody-based approaches are presenting an array of opportunities to complement and improve
current methods employed for skin cancer diagnosis and treatment.