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AIDS. 2008 May 11;22(8):937-45. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e3282ff6275.

Persistent Kaposi sarcoma in the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy: characterizing the predictors of clinical response.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.



To evaluate the role of highly active antiretroviral therapy and chemotherapy on tumor response among persons with AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma and identify factors associated with response in a clinic setting.


Retrospective cohort.


One hundred and fourteen patients from two HIV clinics with a diagnosis of Kaposi sarcoma were identified via a clinical database. Records were reviewed to confirm Kaposi sarcoma diagnosis and abstract clinical and chemotherapy information. Demographics, laboratory values, and highly active antiretroviral therapy use were abstracted electronically. Cox's proportional hazards models identified predictors of Kaposi sarcoma improvement and resolution.


Thirty-six months following Kaposi sarcoma diagnosis, the rate of improvement among 64 patients with confirmed Kaposi sarcoma was 77% and that of complete resolution was 51%. In univariate analyses, recent chemotherapy was associated with Kaposi sarcoma improvement, and recent HIV viral load and highly active antiretroviral therapy were associated with both improvement and resolution. No measured baseline characteristics (tumor stage, diagnosis year, CD4 T-cell count, HIV viral load, or prior highly active antiretroviral therapy history) or recent CD4 T-cell counts predicted improvement or resolution. In multivariate analyses, recent chemotherapy (hazard ratio 5.5, 95% confidence interval: 2.7-11.2, P < 0.001) and highly active antiretroviral therapy (hazard ratio 4.1, 95% confidence interval: 1.4-12.6, P = 0.01) were predictors of improvement; only recent highly active antiretroviral therapy was associated with resolution (hazard ratio 6.2, 95% confidence interval: 1.5-26.4, P = 0.01). Response was not associated with type of highly active antiretroviral therapy regimen (non nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor based, protease inhibitor based, or ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitor based).


Highly active antiretroviral therapy and chemotherapy are important in clinical Kaposi sarcoma response. Despite widespread availability of these therapies, Kaposi sarcoma continues to be a clinical problem; only half the patients achieved complete resolution of disease. New therapeutic approaches are needed.

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