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Int J Cancer. 2005 Jun 10;115(2):296-300.

Risk factors for Kaposi's sarcoma among HHV-8 seropositive homosexual men with AIDS.

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  • 1Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD, USA.


Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a frequent complication of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in homosexual men. Risk factors for developing this malignancy are uncertain, other than immunosuppression and coinfection with human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8). We therefore examined factors associated with KS in a cross-sectional analysis of 99 cases among 503 HHV-8 seropositive homosexual men with AIDS. Data were collected by computer-assisted personal interviews and medical chart reviews. HHV-8 seroreactivity was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for antibodies against HHV-8 K8.1 glycoprotein. KS was significantly less common in blacks compared to whites [risk ratio (RR) = 0.4; 95% CI = 0.2 =0.8] and more common in subjects who had completed college (RR = 1.7; 95% CI = 1.1-2.7) or had annual income greater than dollar 30,000 (RR = 1.5; 95% CI = 1.1-2.2). KS was less common in cigarette smokers (RR = 0.6; 95% CI = 0.5-0.9) and users of crack cocaine (RR = 0.4; 95% CI = 0.1-0.8). KS was less common in bisexual men compared to men who were exclusively homosexual (estimated RR = 0.6; 95% CI = 0.4-0.9) and inversely associated with number of female partners. KS was also less common in men who had received pay for sex (RR = 0.6; 95% CI = 0.4-1.0). These cross-sectional associations could be biased by potential differences in relative timing of HHV-8 and HIV infection, a postulated determinant of KS risk. Alternatively, our findings may reflect factors protective against KS in individuals infected with HHV-8. Future research should focus on identifying practical measures for countering KS that do not increase the risk of other diseases.

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