Kaposi’s sarcoma (also known as Kaposi’s syndrome) is a tumor associated with infection by the human herpesvirus type 8 ( 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 relationship.
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, and then 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 progressing.
Mucosal infection is observed in over 50 % of cases, affecting mostly the oropharyngeal tissue (palatine, gingival, labial, buccal, lingual, tonsillar), anogenital (relating to the anus and genitals) or the eyes.
Infectionof visceralorgans (related 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
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) withBlenoxane( BleomycinSulfate 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 mucocutaneous.