What types of therapies are used to treat Kaposi sarcoma (KS)?

Updated: Apr 11, 2019
  • Author: Jessica Katz, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: Edwin Choy, MD, PhD  more...
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Answer

Antiretroviral therapy

Optimal control of HIV infection using highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is an integral part of successful KS therapy. HAART may be tried as the sole modality in nonvisceral disease. For visceral disease, chemotherapy may be added.

Local therapy

The following local therapies can be used for palliation of locally advanced symptomatic disease or in individuals who have cosmetically unacceptable lesions:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Cryotherapy
  • Laser therapy
  • Surgical excision
  • Intralesional vinca alkaloid therapy
  • Topical retinoids

Immunomodulation

Immunomodulation with interferon-alfa has clinical activity in KS that may be mediated by its antiangiogenic, antiviral, and immunomodulatory properties.

Combination therapy

Combination therapy with regimens such as ABV (actinomycin D, bleomycin, vincristine) produces higher response rates than does single-agent therapy (such as doxorubicin), but time to progression and overall survival rates are similar.

Cytotoxic agents

Several single cytotoxic agents have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for AIDS-related KS; they include the following:

  • Liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil)
  • Liposomal daunorubicin (DaunoXome)
  • Paclitaxel (Taxol) or oral etoposide (VePesid)

Liposomal technology has resulted in higher response rates with less cardiac toxicity and myelotoxicity for liposomal doxorubicin and liposomal daunorubicin. [12, 13, 14]

See Treatment and Medication for more detail.


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