Medicines to Treat Kaposi's Sarcoma


Kaposi's sarcoma (or disease) refers to a malignant neoplasm of the skin, mucous membranes and viscera: it is a rather rare but very dangerous cancer. Kaposi's disease involves a particular vascular proliferation, responsible for the formation of papules and lumpy skin rashes.


It has been observed that Kaposi's disease tends to appear more often in immunocompromised individuals, especially AIDS patients or patients who have undergone a kidney transplant. Unlike what happens in other forms of cancer, the triggering cause has been identified in Kaposi's sarcoma: it is an exponent virus of the Herpes virus family (HHV-8), found in almost all of the diagnosed Kaposi's neoplasms.

Categories at risk: AIDS patients, homosexuals, males, Africans


Most of the time, Kaposi's sarcoma begins with papulo-eczematous lesions on the skin: clusters of tumor cells form reddish and itchy growths on the skin, richly vascularized. Other less frequent symptoms include: blood in the sputum and breathing difficulties (shortness of breath).

  • Complications: Spread of the tumor in the bones or lymph nodes, swollen and painful legs, shortness of breath, predisposition to infections, persistent cough, death

Information on Kaposi's Sarcoma - Medicines to Treat Kaposi's Sarcoma is not intended to replace the direct relationship between health professional and patient. Always consult your doctor and / or specialist before taking Kaposi's Sarcoma - Medicines to Treat Kaposi's Sarcoma.


Before proceeding with the in-depth study of the different therapeutic options for the treatment of Kaposi's sarcoma, it is good to say two words on the methods of prevention that can be implemented. First of all, given that the neoplasm is strongly influenced by AIDS, it is recommended to avoid non sexual intercourse. protected with potentially at-risk partners. Furthermore, it is recommended to undergo a prompt specialist check-up where abnormal and atypical skin rashes are formed: early diagnosis is essential for a good prognosis, since it increases the chances of complete recovery.

N.B. When left untreated or neglected, kaposi disease is deadly

The choice of treatment is heavily influenced by the number and location of sarcomas, the severity of symptoms, the stage of disease progression and the patient's degree of immunosuppression.
Among the various therapeutic options, the most important are summarized below:

  • Cryotherapy (ice therapy)
  • Radiotherapy possibly associated with chemotherapy
  • Viral therapy against HIV in association with antineoplastic drugs
  • Surgical therapy (when possible) consists in the excision of the whole tumor
  • Immunotherapy: this is a biological therapy that uses the same immune system to fight Kaposi's disease. By administering from the outside synthetic substances similar to those synthesized by the organism, it is sometimes possible to rebalance the autoimmune system, which fully performs its activity against malignant cells.

The following are the classes of anticancer drugs most used in the therapy against Kaposi's disease, and some examples of pharmacological specialties; it is up to the doctor to choose the most suitable active ingredient and dosage for the patient, based on the severity of the disease, the state of health of the patient and his response to treatment:

  • Paclitaxel (eg. Abraxane, Anzatax, Cantaxel, Paxene, Taxol): for patients with AIDS associated with Kaposi's sarcoma, it is recommended to take the drug at a dosage of 135 mg / m2 (three hour infusion) every three weeks or 100 mg / m2 in three hours every 2 weeks.
  • Doxorubicin (eg Adriblastin, Caelyx, Doxorubicin ACC, Myocet): the recommended dose is 20mg per square meter of body extension, intravenously, in 30 minutes. The dose can be adjusted by the doctor every three weeks, based on the patient's response.
  • Interferon alfa-2b (eg Introna 10-18-25 MIU, Viraferon-Peg, Pegintron) [MIU = million international units]: indicated for the treatment of patients with AIDS and Kaposi's sarcoma. Take 30 million IU / m2 subcutaneously or intramuscularly, three times a week until symptoms subside. Do not continue therapy for more than 16 weeks. Generally, the dosage is decreased during the course of the disease.
  • Interferon alfa-2a (eg Roferon-A, 3-6-9 MIU / 0.5 ml, Pegasys): belonging to the class of antineoplastic interferons, the drug should be administered at a dosage of 36 million international units per day, for subcutaneously or intramuscularly, for a period ranging from 10 to 12 weeks. Maintenance dose: 36 MIU between times per week.
  • Vinblastine (eg Velbe, Vinblastine TEV) the initial dose is 3.7 mg / m2 intravenously for one minute (single application). The drug can also be administered subsequently, but the dose is generally modified, following different schemes according to the patient; in principle, the second dose is administered at a dosage of 5.5 mg / m2, the third 7.4 mg / m2, the fourth 9.25 mg / m2 and the fifth 11.1 mg / m2. Consult your doctor. Monitor your white blood cell count.
  • Daunorubicin (eg Daunoxome, Daunoblastina): this drug belongs to the class of antibiotics and antineoplastics, and is used in therapy for the treatment of Kaposi's sarcoma as a first-line drug, especially if the patient is simultaneously infected with HIV. The recommended dose of administration of this drug is 40 mg / m2 by intravenous infusion over 60 minutes. Repeat the application every 2 weeks. Before administering the drug, the doctor must make sure that the patient with Kaposi's sarcoma has no serious heart problems, and that the number of blood components is within the normal range.

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