Research Alert

Background: Melanoma is one of the most life-threatening skin cancers; immune checkpoint blockade is widely used in the treatment of melanoma because of its remarkable efficacy.

Objective: This study aimed to conduct a comprehensive bibliometric analysis of research conducted in recent decades on immune checkpoint blockade for melanoma, while exploring research trends and public interest in this topic.

Methods: We summarized the articles in the Web of Science Core Collection on immune checkpoint blockade for melanoma in each year from 1999 to 2020. The R package bibliometrix was used for data extraction and visualization of the distribution of publication year and the top 10 core authors. Keyword citation burst analysis and cocitation networks were calculated with CiteSpace. A Gunn online world map was used to evaluate distribution by country and region. Ranking was performed using the Standard Competition Ranking method. Coauthorship analysis and co-occurrence were analyzed and visualized with VOSviewer.

Results: After removing duplicates, a total of 9169 publications were included. The distribution of publications by year showed that the number of publications rose sharply from 2015 onwards and either reached a peak in 2020 or has yet to reach a peak. The geographical distribution indicated that there was a large gap between the number of publications in the United States and other countries. The coauthorship analysis showed that the 149 top institutions were grouped into 8 clusters, each covering approximately a single country, suggesting that international cooperation among institutions should be strengthened. The core author extraction revealed changes in the most prolific authors. The keyword analysis revealed clustering and top citation bursts. The cocitation analysis of references from 2010 to 2020 revealed the number of citations and the centrality of the top articles.

Conclusions: This study revealed trends in research and public interest in immune checkpoint blockade for melanoma. Our findings suggest that the field is growing rapidly, has several core authors, and that the United States is taking the lead position. Moreover, cooperation between countries should be strengthened, and future research hot spots might focus on deeper exploration of drug mechanisms, prediction of treatment efficacy, prediction of adverse events, and new modes of administration, such as combination therapy, which may pave the way for further research.

Journal Link: Journal of Medical Internet Research

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Journal of Medical Internet Research