Objective: To determine the toxicity and maximum tolerated dose of doxorubicin (adriamycin) in combination with fixed doses of bleomycin, vincristine (ABV) and zidovudine in patients with advanced AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma.
Patients and methods: Twenty-six HIV-seropositive men with Kaposi's sarcoma were treated daily with 100 mg zidovudine orally every 4 h, along with combination chemotherapy using bleomycin 10 U/m2 and vincristine 1.4 mg/m2 (maximum, 2 mg) given intravenously in 2-week cycles. In addition, three successive cohorts of eight patients received escalating doses of doxorubicin each beginning with no doxorubicin (level I), doses of 10 mg/m2 (level II), and 15 mg/m2 (level III).
Results: The major dose-limiting toxicity experienced with the combination therapy was severe neutropenia in eight patients, four of whom received level III doxorubicin (15 mg/m2). Therefore, 10 mg/m2 of doxorubicin in combination with zidovudine and BV chemotherapy was defined as the maximum tolerated dose. Other dose-limiting toxicities included neuropathy (n = 2), cutaneous toxicity associated with bleomycin (n = 1), and diarrhea (n = 1). Seventeen patients (71%; 95% confidence interval, 46-85) experienced either partial (n = 13) or clinical complete remission (n = 4) to therapy after a median of five cycles (range, 2-9).
Conclusion: The maximum tolerated dose of doxorubicin is 10 mg/m2 when given in combination with zidovudine and BV chemotherapy. Response rates observed with the combined antiretroviral and chemotherapy regimen are similar to those previously reported with ABV chemotherapy alone.