Kaposi sarcoma (/'kæp??i s??r'ko?m?/; KS) is a tumor caused by infection with human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8), also known as Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) or KS agent. It was originally described by Moritz Kaposi, a Hungarian dermatologist practicing at the University of Vienna in 1872. It became more widely known as one of the AIDS-defining illnesses in the 1980s. The viral cause for this cancer was discovered in 1994. Although KS is now well-established to be caused by a viral infection, there is widespread lack of awareness of this even among persons at risk for KSHV/HHV-8 infection.
Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is a systemic disease that can present with cutaneous lesions with or without internal involvement. Four subtypes have been described: Classic KS, affecting middle aged men of Mediterranean descent; African endemic KS; KS iniatrogenically immunosuppressed patients; and AIDS-related KS. The erythematous to violaceous cutaneous lesions seen in KS have several morphologies: macular, patch, plaque, nodular, and exophytic. The cutaneous lesions can be solitary, localized or disseminated. KS can involve the oral cavity, lymph nodes, and viscera. Classic KS tends to be indolent, presenting with erythematous or violaceous patches on the lower extremities. African endemic KS and AIDS-related KS tend to be more aggressive. The AIDS-related KS lesions often rapidly progress to plaques and nodules affecting the upper trunk, face, and oral mucosa. The diagnosis can be made with a tissue biopsy and, if clinically indicated, internal imaging should be done.
Once the diagnosis of KS has been made, treatment is based on the subtype and the presence of localized versus systemic disease. Localized cutaneous disease can be treated with cryotherapy, intralesional injections of vinblastine, alitretinoin gel, radiotherapy, topical immunotherapy (Imiquimod), or surgical excision. Extensive cutaneous disease and/or internal disease may require intravenous chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Discontinuation or reduction of immunosuppressive therapy is recommended when KS arises in the setting of iatrogenic immunosuppression. However, with AIDS-related KS, highly active antiretroviral therapy(HAART) has been shown to prevent, or induce regression of KS. Some AIDS patients have complete resolution of the lesions and prolonged remission while continuing the therapy. Therefore, HAART should be considered first-line treatment for these patients, though they may require other treatments at the same time.
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kharkar v, gutte rm, khopkar u, mahajan s, chikhalkar s. kaposi's sarcoma: a presenting manifestation of hiv infection in an indian. indian j dermatol venereol leprol [serial online] 2009 [cited 2016 may 31];75:391-3. available from: http://www.ijdvl.com/text.asp?2009/75/4/391/53137