Background: Kaposi sarcoma (KS) remains common among HIV-infected persons. To better understand KS etiology and to help target prevention efforts, we comprehensively examined a variety of CD4 T-cell count and HIV-1 RNA viral load (VL) measures, as well as antiretroviral therapy (ART) use, to determine independent predictors of KS risk.
Setting: North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design.
Methods: We followed HIV-infected persons during 1996-2009 from 18 cohorts. We used time-updated Cox regression to model relationships between KS risk and recent, lagged, trajectory, and cumulative CD4 count or VL measures, as well as ART use. We used Akaike's information criterion and global P values to derive a final model.
Results: In separate models, the relationship between each measure and KS risk was highly significant (P < 0.0001). Our final mutually adjusted model included recent CD4 count [hazard ratio (HR) for <50 vs. ≥500 cells/μL = 12.4; 95% confidence interval (CI): 6.5 to 23.8], recent VL (HR for ≥100,000 vs. ≤500 copies/mL = 3.8; 95% CI: 2.0 to 7.3), and cumulative (time-weighted mean) VL (HR for ≥100,000 vs. ≤500 copies/mL = 2.5; 95% CI: 1.0 to 5.9). Each P-trend was <0.0001. After adjusting for these measures, we did not detect an independent association between ART use and KS risk.
Conclusions: Our results suggested a multifactorial etiology for KS, with early and late phases of development. The cumulative VL effect suggested that controlling HIV replication promptly after HIV diagnosis is important for KS prevention. We observed no evidence for direct anti-KS activity of ART, independent of CD4 count and VL.