Kaposi’s Sarcoma

December 22 21:15 2019 Print This Article

Kaposi’s sarcoma is a cancerous tumor of the connective tissue, and is often associated with AIDS. It is caused by Human Herpes Virus 8 in which cancerous cells, as well as abnormally growing blood vessels, form solid lesions in connective tissue. The most common site for KS is on the skin but it may also affect internal organs, particularly the lymph nodes (part of your immune system), the lungs and parts of the digestive system (the gut).

Kaposi sarcoma (KS) was named for Dr. Moritz Kaposi who first described it in 1872. It manifests in four distinct forms. The first form, called classic KS, was described by the Austrian dermatologist Moricz Kaposi more than a century ago. This condition carries a variable clinical course ranging from minimal mucocutaneous disease to extensive organ involvement. KS can occur in several different clinical settings. It is now the most frequent cancer to develop in people with AIDS, affecting about 20% overall. KS appears about eight times more often in gay men than in women. If isolated to the skin, KS is not life threatening.

KS is a spindle-cell tumor thought to be derived from endothelial cell lineage. KS was historically very rare and found mainly in older men of Mediterranean or African origin ( classic KS ) or patients with severely weakened immune systems, such as after an organ transplant. This disease typically causes tumors to develop in the tissues below the skin surface, or in the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, or anus.

Most cancers, which start in one place and may then spread to other parts of the body, KS can appear in several parts of the body at the same time. It can appear as classic KS, or in a more deadly form that quickly spreads to tissues below the skin, the bones and lymph system, leading to death within a few years of diagnosis. In a recent study, men with HHV-8 were nearly 12 times more likely to be diagnosed with KS than men who did not have HHV-8. However, if KS forms in the intestinal track, lungs, brain or other internal organs, it can have serious consequences and can even be fatal.

Causes of Kaposi’s Sarcoma

The comman causes of Kaposi’s Sarcoma include the following:

  • KS occurs far more often in men than in women. This suggests that hormones may have something to do with how the disease develops.
  • Genetic background. People with classic and African KS appear to possess an abnormal gene. Genes are chemical substances in the body that determine a person’s physical and biological characteristics.
  • People who have kidney transplants are also at risk for Kaposi’s sarcoma.
  • In people with AIDS, Kaposi’s sarcoma is caused by an interaction between HIV, a weakened immune system, and the human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8).
  • In many cases, the immune system may be strong enough to defend the body against KS. When the immune system is weakened, however, it loses that ability. People who are taking immunosuppressant drugs are, therefore, at risk for KS. So are people with AIDS, whose immune systems are often very badly damaged.

Symptoms of Kaposi’s Sarcoma

Some sign and symptoms related to Kaposi’s Sarcoma are as follows:

  • Small, painless, flat area (lesion) or lump on skin.
  • Weight loss.
  • Advanced skin lesions are usually only mildly uncomfortable, although painful ulcers may occur.
  • Swollen glands.
  • Profound air hunger and Illness of months or years.
  • Bleeding from gastrointestinal lesions.
  • Chills.
  • Bloody sputum from lesions in the lung.
  • Weakness.
  • Breathing problems (when lesions develop in the lungs).
  • Fevers.
  • Sweats (particularly at night).

Treatment of Kaposi’s Sarcoma

Here is list of the methods for treating Kaposi’s Sarcoma:

  • Antiviral therapy against the AIDS virus can shrink the lesions.
  • Surgery is the most common treatment for soft tissue sarcomas, especially if cancer cells haven’t spread to other parts of the body.
  • Radiation theraphy is also used to treat cancer with gamma or x – rays Classic KS does not usually require any treatment, although radiotherapy is sometimes used for larger or easily visible lesions.
  • Chemotherapy may be given in many forms including: pill, injection, and via a catheter.
  • Transplant-related KS, caused by immunosuppressant drugs, can sometimes be controlled by stopping or reducing these drugs.
  • Biological therapy involves immunologic treatment of KS primarily with the interferons, mainly alpha.