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Treatment strategies for epidemic Kaposi's sarcoma

Volm, Matthew D., MD; Von Roenn, Jamie H., MD

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As the AIDS epidemic progresses, Kaposi's sarcoma continues to contribute substantially to the morbidity suffered by AIDS patients. Advances in our understanding of the pathogenesis of Kaposi's sarcoma have resulted in treatment strategies that are being investigated in the laboratory and clinic. Agents that affect the abnormal cytokines associated with Kaposi's sarcoma or inhibit angiogenesis are in early clinical trials. The recent discovery of a putative Kaposi's sarcoma virus may lead to new preventive or therapeutic strategies. Interferon, usually in combination with an antiretroviral nucleoside analogue, remains an important therapeutic option for patients with relatively intact immune function. For patients with more advanced immune suppression, chemotherapy is usually given, although there is no standard treatment regimen. New chemotherapeutic agents, including the use of liposomal encapsulated anthracyclines and topoisomerase-1 inhibitors, are being evaluated.

Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois, USA

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