Sarcomas other than Kaposi sarcoma occurring in immunodeficiency: interpretations from a systematic literature review

Curr Opin Oncol. 2012 Sep;24(5):537-46. doi: 10.1097/CCO.0b013e328355e115.


Purpose of review: In immunodeficiency, an increased sarcoma risk is confirmed for Kaposi's sarcoma. Whether rates of other sarcoma subtypes are elevated in the setting of immunodeficiency is not known. We therefore reviewed published case reports on HIV and AIDS patients and organ transplant recipients with sarcomas. For comparison, we assessed sarcomas in the U.S. general population using Surveillance Epidemiology End Results (SEER) data.

Recent findings: A total of 176 non-Kaposi sarcoma were identified, 75 in people with HIV and AIDS and 101 in transplant recipients. Leiomyosarcomas (n = 101) were the most frequently reported sarcomas, followed by angiosarcomas (n = 23) and fibrohistiocytic tumors (n = 17). Leiomyosarcomas were reported with two age peaks, in children and young adults. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) was detected in the tumor cells in 85 and 88% of leiomyosarcomas in HIV-infected people and transplant recipients, respectively. Angiosarcomas and fibrohistiocytic tumors were most frequently reported in men. Among kidney transplant recipients, 20% of sarcomas arose at the site of an arteriovenous fistula. In comparison, leiomyoscarcomas, angiosarcomas, and fibrohistiocytic tumors comprised 16.9, 3.8, and 18.7% of sarcomas in the U.S. general population.

Summary: Leiomyosarcoma and angiosarcoma may occur disproportionately in immunodeficiency. Leiomyosarcomas appear causatively linked to EBV, whereas angiosarcomas might be correlated with an arteriovenous fistula. Additional studies are necessary to understand the contribution of immunodeficiency to the cause of these sarcomas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • Hemangiosarcoma / epidemiology
  • Hemangiosarcoma / immunology
  • Hemangiosarcoma / virology
  • Histiocytoma, Malignant Fibrous / epidemiology
  • Histiocytoma, Malignant Fibrous / immunology
  • Histiocytoma, Malignant Fibrous / virology
  • Humans
  • Leiomyosarcoma / epidemiology
  • Leiomyosarcoma / immunology
  • Leiomyosarcoma / virology
  • SEER Program
  • Sarcoma / epidemiology
  • Sarcoma / immunology*
  • Sarcoma / virology*
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / epidemiology
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / immunology
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / virology
  • United States / epidemiology