Fatal pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma in an HIV seronegative AIDS patient

Clin Respir J. 2017 Nov;11(6):1040-1044. doi: 10.1111/crj.12463. Epub 2016 Mar 2.


Introduction: Although HIV antibody tests have been widely accepted in clinical diagnosis of HIV infection, they may not be sufficient to diagnose all subjects with HIV infection. Except negative result of antibody test in the well-known" acute window phase", in rare cases, patients do not develop HIV antibodies despite demonstrable infection. Primary pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma (KS) without mucocutaneous involvement accounts for only 0-15% of all AIDS-related KS. KS is rare among Chinese subjects, especially in persons of Han descent.

Methods: A case of seronegative AIDS with primary pulmonary Kaposi sarcoma (KS) was reported. It's a 46-year-old Chinese man presented with sore throat, hemoptysis, fever, dyspnea and multiple lung nodules. The lung lesions grew over a 5-month period so as the symptoms worsened. The possibility of AIDS was discounted by his physicians because of the repeatedly negative HIV antibodies tests despite the ELISA tests or Western blot tests. Histopathologic diagnosis of fine needle lung biopsy in local hospital was undetermined. After admission, HIV infection was eventually confirmed by plasma HIV RNA testing. Histopathologic diagnosis of Lung Kaposi sarcoma was made through repeated fine needle aspiration biopsy as well as the review of former one. Multiple antibiotics and chemotherapy were administrated with no clinical effect due to advanced stage and the patient passed away soon after diagnosis.

Results: This is the first case of seronegative HIV-1 infection with presentation of primary pulmonary KS.

Conclusion: This case underscores the importance of plasma RNA test in conjunction with HIV antibody test for some rare patients with HIV infection who present with severe immunodeficiency and opportunistic infections or malignancy.

Keywords: Kaposi sarcoma; pulmonary nodules; seronegative HIV infection.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / complications*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications*
  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Fatal Outcome
  • HIV / genetics
  • HIV / immunology
  • HIV Infections / blood
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • HIV Infections / genetics
  • HIV Seronegativity / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / complications
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / drug therapy
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / pathology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed

Supplementary concepts

  • AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma