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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1988 Dec;151(6):1233-5.

AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma: findings on thallium-201 scintigraphy.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Boston City Hospital, Boston University School of Medicine, MA 02118.


No simple, noninvasive method is available for evaluating extracutaneous Kaposi sarcoma in AIDS patients or for following the tumor's response to treatment. We report our preliminary experience with thallium-201 scintigraphy in nine AIDS patients with proved Kaposi sarcoma. Eight of the nine had abnormal uptake of the radionuclide in skin, lymph nodes, oral cavity, vagina, and lungs. Only four of the nine had cutaneous Kaposi sarcoma at the time of scanning. All cutaneous and mucosal lesions were thallium avid. Two of the six patients with thallium-avid nodes underwent nodal biopsy. Both biopsies confirmed the diagnosis of Kaposi sarcoma. Cutaneous Kaposi sarcoma developed later in one of these patients, showing the efficacy of thallium scintigraphy for the early detection of extracutaneous lesions. These preliminary results show thallium avidity in Kaposi sarcoma involving the skin and various extracutaneous sites (lymph nodes, lung, mucosa, and vagina). Thallium scintigraphy is a potentially useful procedure for detecting extracutaneous Kaposi sarcoma in AIDS patients.

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