sarcoma (also known as Kaposi’s syndrome) is a tumor associated with infection by the human herpesvirus type
HHV-8). The disease gets its
name from the name of the Hungarian dermatologist Moritz Kaposi , a teacher at the University of Vienna , who
described the disease for the first time in 1872. The type of Kaposi's sarcoma that causes skin tumors of the extremities in the elderly
was described at the end of the nineteenth century in the Mediterranean. HHV-8, which is an endemic condition in Africa, is growing especially in individuals
co-infected with HIV. The HIV and AIDS have caused an explosion in the number of cases of Kaposi's sarcoma
in certain African countries.
In Europe and the United States, the disease affects mostly gay men, unlike in Africa
where transmission appears to be preferentially from mother to child and from child to another.
There are also many asymptomatic cases in which the patients have the disease but show
no signs or symptoms.
Studies show that poppers (amyl nitrite)
may cause Kaposi's sarcoma. This idea was used to support the theories of scientists challenging the
exclusive viral origin of AIDS; but this connection is tenuous and is insufficient to adequately show a true
Signs and Symptoms
of Kaposi's sarcoma
Kaposi's sarcoma symptoms tend to be
dermic at the beginning. Usually, the skin begins to develop a macule that evolves into a papule, a nodule,
ulcerated plaque. This lesion (the macule) is limited to erythematous and purplish, and may first
simulate a hematoma, collection of blood outside the blood vessels, usually in liquid form within the
tissue. The lesions vary in size, which can be
localized or generalized. Evolution is also very variable from one patient to another, very slow or rapidly
Mucosal infection is observed in over 50 %
of cases, affecting mostly the oropharyngeal tissue (palatine, gingival, labial, buccal, lingual, tonsillar),
to the anus and genitals) or the eyes.
to internal organs in the
main cavities of the body) usually worsens the severity of the Kaposi's sarcoma causing other health problems
particularly lung disease. Clinical signs are nonspecific cough, dyspnea, prolonged fever, etc...
Kaposi's sarcoma Treatment involves
general and / or local therapies. In the context of HIV infection, the general treatment is indicated if the
patient is suffering from extensive mucocutaneous lesions and/or visceral infection. The treatment may
include mono-chemotherapy (single-agent chemotherapy) with
Injection) if skin lesions are
extensive and visceral lesions are indolent. In case of skin lesions associated with oedematous
(excessive amount of
fluid in or around cells, tissues or serous cavities of the body) and severe visceral
lesions, a combination of chemotherapy agents - adriamycin, bleomycin, vinblastine or vincristine, liposomal
anthracyclines and taxanes - can be used. Topical treatment is indicated in the case of stable and limited