Treatment of advanced Kaposi's sarcoma using a combination of bleomycin and vincristine

Am J Clin Oncol. 1990 Aug;13(4):315-9. doi: 10.1097/00000421-199008000-00010.


Eighteen patients with disseminated AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) and compromised bone marrow function were treated with a relatively non-myelosuppressive regimen of bleomycin and vincristine (BV). At study entry, the patients presented with the following median laboratory values: hemoglobin of 9.5 g/dl, granulocyte counts of 1,173/mm3, platelet counts of 218,000/mm3, and CD4 lymphocyte counts of 58/mm3. All patients had extensive Kaposi's sarcoma. Nine patients had visceral involvement: four with pulmonary involvement, two with gastrointestinal involvement, and three with both. Following a median number of seven cycles of biweekly chemotherapy, complete or partial tumor responses were achieved in 13 patients (72%). Two patients experienced bleomycin-induced skin toxicities, whereas 10 others (55%) experienced peripheral sensory neuropathy requiring vincristine dose reductions. Opportunistic infections had occurred in 11 patients prior to initiation of chemotherapy and in 16 after initiation of chemotherapy. Despite the frequent development of opportunistic infections, BV chemotherapy was relatively well tolerated and resulted in a high response rate in this patient population that presented with suboptimal marrow function and extremely low CD4 lymphocyte counts.

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
  • Adult
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / toxicity
  • Bleomycin / administration & dosage*
  • Bleomycin / toxicity
  • HIV Infections
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Opportunistic Infections
  • Remission Induction
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / drug therapy*
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors
  • Vincristine / administration & dosage*
  • Vincristine / toxicity


  • Bleomycin
  • Vincristine