Kaposi's sarcoma

Last reviewed: 1 Jun 2022
Last updated: 19 Dec 2019

Summary

Definition

History and exam

Key diagnostic factors

  • presence of risk factors
  • age >50 years
  • male sex
  • geographic location: sub-Saharan Africa or the Mediterranean
  • HIV infection
  • HHV-8 (also known as Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus [KSHV]) infection
  • immunosuppression
  • skin lesion
  • oral lesion
  • lymphadenopathy
  • lymphoedema
More key diagnostic factors

Other diagnostic factors

  • weight loss
  • abdominal pain
  • GI bleeding
  • diarrhoea
  • dyspnoea
  • haemoptysis
  • chest pain
  • fever
Other diagnostic factors

Risk factors

  • male sex
  • HIV infection
  • drug abuse
  • immunosuppression therapy
  • transplantation
  • human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8, also known as Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus [KSHV]) infection
  • central African ethnicity (Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland)
  • Jewish ethnicity
  • Mediterranean ethnicity
  • age <5 years or >50 years
More risk factors

Diagnostic investigations

1st investigations to order

  • HIV test
  • skin/mucosal biopsy
  • lymph node biopsy
  • fecal occult blood
  • CXR
More 1st investigations to order

Investigations to consider

  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • bronchoscopy
  • GI endoscopy
  • PET scan
  • FBC
  • renal function tests
  • LFTs
More investigations to consider

Emerging tests

  • human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8, also known as Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus [KSHV]) viraemia and serology

Treatment algorithm

ACUTE

epidemic AIDS-related KS

classic sporadic KS

iatrogenic and transplant-associated KS

African endemic KS

Contributors

Authors

David Aboulafia, MD

Attending Hematologist and Oncologist

Virginia Mason Clinical Professor of Medicine

Division of Hematology and Oncology

University of Washington

Seattle

WA

Disclosures

DA is the author of articles cited in this topic.

Acknowledgements

Dr David Aboulafia would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Liron Pantanowitz and Dr Bruce J. Dezube, previous contributors to this topic.

Peer reviewers

Justin Stebbing, MA, MRCP, MRCPath, PhD

Consultant Medical Oncologist/Senior Lecturer

Department of Medical Oncology

Imperial College/Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust

Charing Cross Hospital

London

UK

Disclosures

JS declares that he has no competing interests.

Thierry Simonart, MD, PhD

Physician

Department of Dermatology

Erasme University Hospital

Brussels

Belgium

Disclosures

TS declares that he has no competing interests.

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