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Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome-related Kaposi's sarcoma regression after highly active antiretroviral therapy: biologic correlates of clinical outcome.

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  • 1Department of Infectious Diseases, General Hospital of Padova, Italy.



Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is the most common cancer seen in subjects with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). KS etiology and pathogenesis are still ill defined, and no definite improvement in survival has been obtained with current chemotherapeutic regimens. This open prospective study was aimed at evaluating the clinical response of AIDS-related KS to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), a combination of protease and reverse transcriptase inhibitors, as well as the relationship between clinical response, human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) burden, and antibody titer against human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8) proteins.


Fourteen KS patients were studied; 12 were in the poor-risk group. At given intervals, the patients underwent clinical examination, and their CD4(+) cell counts, plasma HIV-1 RNA levels, and antibody titers to lytic-phase ORF65 and latent-phase HHV8 proteins were determined.


When last seen, the overall clinical response rate was 86% (median follow-up, 22 months); 10 complete and two partial responses were achieved, and two patients showed disease progression. All patients with complete or partial response showed a consistent decrease in HIV-1 RNA levels, with a corresponding increase in CD4(+) cell counts; HIV-1 RNA levels in the two progressors remained persistently high, despite a change in HAART. HHV8 ORF65 antibody titers were generally higher in patients with extensive skin or mucosal/visceral involvement versus patients with limited disease; no differences in latent-phase HHV8 antibody titers were observed in relation to tumor burden.


The findings indicate that antiretroviral therapy with protease inhibitors is effective for AIDS-related KS; the clinical response was correlated with a decrease in plasma HIV-1 RNA levels and an increase in CD4(+) lymphocytes, whereas antibody levels to the lytic-phase HHV8 protein were influenced by the extent of tumor involvement.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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