American Journal of Clinical Dermatology

, Volume 3, Issue 7, pp 451–462 | Cite as

Recent Advances in the Treatment of AIDS-Related Kaposi’s Sarcoma

  • Anna M. Cattelan
  • Marco Trevenzoli
  • Savina M. L. Aversa
Leading Article


Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) is the most common malignancy associated with HIV infection and is considered an AIDS defining condition by the US Centers of Disease Control Guidelines. Several advances in the treatment of AIDS-related KS have been achieved over the past few years, even though a gold standard therapy for KS has not yet been defined and treatment must be tailored to individual needs. Since the availability of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), a dramatic clinical response has been documented in patients with KS, making HAART an essential approach in the management of KS in most, if not all, patients with AIDS-related KS. However, in case of aggressive, visceral, and/or life-threatening KS, more complex therapeutic schedules have to be taken into account, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and/or immunotherapy. In general, systemic treatment for KS is limited to widespread, symptomatic disease, whereas local interventions are indicated for minimal, cosmetically troublesome lesions.

Among new cytotoxic agents, liposomal anthracyclines and paclitaxel are highly effective molecules for KS and have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as first-line and second-line monotherapy, respectively, for advanced KS. Furthermore, a greater understanding of the pathogenesis of KS has lead to the development of an array of new experimental agents.

Many antiangiogenic agents such as AGM 1470 (TNP 470), thalidomide, and glufanide disodium (IM 862) have produced encouraging responses in patients with KS and large clinical trials are in progress. Retinoic acids may also block neoangiogenesis as well as proliferation of KS cells in vitro, and they have been used either systemically or topically with a high response rate. Thus, a topical compound 0.1% alitretinoin gel was approved in 1999 by the FDA for the treatment of skin lesions associated with KS.

Human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormonal agent, has shown a strong inhibitory activity in KS cells, but its role in the regression of KS lesions is not clear.

Finally, the identification of a novel γ-herpesvirus, human herpesvirus-8, as a causative agent for KS, together with novel antiangiogenic compounds, such as metalloproteinase inhibitors, may offer promising targets for the therapy of KS.


Tretinoin Liposomal Doxorubicin Alitretinoin Liposomal Daunorubicin Liposomal Anthracyclines 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We wish to thank Dr Lolita Sasset, Dr Federica Vianello, and Dr Gino Crivellari, for their useful help in preparing the manuscript. No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this manuscript. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna M. Cattelan
    • 1
  • Marco Trevenzoli
    • 1
  • Savina M. L. Aversa
    • 2
  1. 1.Infectious Diseases Division, General HospitalUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly
  2. 2.Oncology Division, General HospitalUniversity of PaduaPaduaItaly

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