Background: Acquired immune deficiency syndrome related Kaposi's sarcoma (AIDS-KS) remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. We describe for the first time a proportion of patients with AIDS-KS who presented with no evidence of cutaneous disease.
Patients and methods: From our cohort of 5932 individuals infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) treated in the HAART era, 319 were identified with KS. Of these, 11 patients (5.4%) were diagnosed with KS without the presence of any cutaneous disease. We compared their survival, clinical, immunological and virological characteristics to other individuals with KS.
Results: There were no statistically significant differences in survival, CD4 count or HIV viral load at KS presentation. We observed that tumour-associated oedema (P = 0.046) and non-oral gastrointestinal KS (P = 0.042) were significantly more common in patients with non-cutaneous KS. Only one case of non-cutaneous KS was observed prior to the era of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART).
Conclusions: Non-cutaneous KS is a recognisable condition; patients should be treated with the standard of care as their prognosis is not inferior. This is likely to reflect a strong immune response, in the era of HAART.