What are the possible complications of Kaposi sarcoma (KS)?

Updated: Mar 26, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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The most common complications include secondary malignancy and secondary infections. In particular, secondary infection occurs with the KS-AIDS group of patients. A relatively common clinical concern is to distinguish Kaposi sarcoma from opportunistic infection and lymphoma.

In patients with classic Kaposi sarcoma, lymphoma develops in approximately 35%, usually after a number of years.

Kaposi sarcoma may produce clinical problems including edema from impaired lymphatic draining (sometimes resulting in pain), difficulty ambulating, friability of cutaneous nodules, or secondary localized skin infection.

The immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS) when antiretroviral therapy commences may involve Kaposi sarcoma as the disorder that flares. [48] A study from Chicago of 260 patients calculated the incidence of IRIS as occurring in 11% of them. [35] Kaposi sarcoma IRIS was documented in 29% of these patients, perhaps reflecting the visibility of progressing Kaposi sarcoma in these patients.

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