Kaposi's sarcoma is a tumor of proliferating blood vessels.
There are at least 3 distinct clinical variants of Kaposi?s sarcoma:
Is a slowly progressive condition, most commonly seen in elderly southern Europeans.
Usually appearing as purple patches and plaques on the lower extremities, the condition is only very slowly progressive. GI involvement, and involvement at other sites, is a relatively late occurrence, and life expectancy is rarely shortened.
Is a more fulminant disease and is associated with AIDS. Human herpes type8 is linked to this condition .It is seen much less commonly now the effective anti-retroviral drugs are used. Common in central Africa, epidemic KS also occurs in all other parts of the world with a prevalence of AIDS.
Epidemic KS can be rapidly progressive, and fatal.
Is secondary to iatrogenic immune suppression, when KS develops in patients who have received solid organ transplants. Removal of the immunosuppression can result in complete regression of this form of KS, without specific therapy.
The disease can be rapidly progressive and fatal.
- Most lesions of classical KS do not require treatment. Bothersome plaques respond well to local x-ray therapy.
- Epidemic KS may require systemic chemotherapy. Vinblastine or vincristine, and intravenous interferon alpha have all produced clinical responses.
- Chemotherapy for KS is palliative.
- Early KS lesions can respond well to liquid nitrogen cryotherapy. Topical Alitretinoin works for some small early lesions