Diagnosis and treatment of classic and iatrogenic Kaposi's sarcoma: Italian recommendations

Ital J Dermatol Venerol. 2021 Jun;156(3):356-365. doi: 10.23736/S2784-8671.20.06703-6. Epub 2020 Nov 12.


Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a lymphangioproliferative disorder associated with Human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8) infection. Four clinical subtypes are recognized: classic, endemic, epidemic (HIV-related) and iatrogenic. KS diagnosis is based on clinical features, histopathological assessment, and HHV8 serology. Classic KS is usually skin-limited and has a chronic course, while the iatrogenic variant may show mucosal, nodal or visceral involvement. Clinical staging is fundamental to guide the management. Localized disease may be treated with different local therapies, even if there are no randomized trials comparing these different modalities. Aggressive, disseminated KS and cases with visceral involvement usually require systemic chemotherapy, most commonly vinblastine, bleomycin or paclitaxel. Iatrogenic KS needs immunosuppression tapering/withdrawal and, if possible, switch to m-TOR inhibitors in post-transplant KS. The present work by a panel of Italian experts provides guidelines on KS diagnosis and management based on a critical review of the literature and a long and extensive personal experience.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome*
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi* / diagnosis
  • Skin Neoplasms* / diagnosis