Treatment of Kaposi's sarcoma. Current guidelines and future perspectives

Drugs. 1994 Oct;48(4):569-82. doi: 10.2165/00003495-199448040-00006.


Kaposi's sarcoma is the most common malignancy associated with HIV infection, and the morbidity and mortality attributable to AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma (AIDS-KS) may be increasing. No curative therapy is available for AIDS-KS, but palliative therapy can eliminate or reduce cosmetically unacceptable lesions, reduce painful or unsightly oedema or lymphadenopathy, shrink symptomatic oral lesions and relieve symptoms caused by visceral involvement. Strategies currently employed to treat the various clinical problems encountered in AIDS-KS include single- and multi-agent cytotoxic chemotherapy, treatment with interferon-alpha, radiotherapy, and other local therapies. Current clinical research is focusing on use of liposome-encapsulated cytotoxic agents and treatment with substances that inhibit angiogenesis. Any treatment plan for AIDS-KS must be flexible and must be based on the patient's overall clinical and immunological status as well as therapeutic goals. Limited local disease is usually amenable to treatment with local measures. Extensive, symptomatic AIDS-KS warrants systemic treatment. The response of mucocutaneous lesions to low dose systemic cytotoxic chemotherapy is typically excellent. Treatment with interferon-alpha may also be beneficial in this setting. Multi-agent chemotherapeutic regimens are usually reserved for treatment of patients most severely affected by AIDS-KS. It is hoped that liposome-encapsulated cytotoxic chemotherapy and antiangiogenic therapies will prove more effective and less toxic than the treatment strategies currently in use.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Bleomycin / adverse effects
  • Bleomycin / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Doxorubicin / adverse effects
  • Doxorubicin / therapeutic use
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Interferons / therapeutic use
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / prevention & control
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / therapy*
  • Vinblastine / adverse effects
  • Vinblastine / therapeutic use


  • Bleomycin
  • Vinblastine
  • Doxorubicin
  • Interferons

Supplementary concepts

  • VBA protocol