Kaposi's sarcoma

Last reviewed: 29 Oct 2022
Last updated: 30 Sep 2022

Summary

Definition

History and exam

Key diagnostic factors

  • presence of risk factors
  • age >50 years
  • male sex
  • geographical location: central Africa or the Mediterranean
  • HIV infection
  • human herpesvirus-8 (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
  • gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding
  • diarrhoea
  • dyspnoea
  • haemoptysis
  • chest pain
  • fever
Other diagnostic factors

Risk factors

  • male sex
  • HIV infection
  • immunosuppressive therapy
  • human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8, also known as Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus [KSHV]) infection
  • central African ethnicity
  • drug abuse
  • 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
  • faecal occult blood
  • chest x-ray
More 1st investigations to order

Investigations to consider

  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • bronchoscopy
  • gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy
  • PET scan
  • FBC
  • renal function tests
  • liver function tests
More investigations to consider

Emerging tests

  • human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8) viraemia and serology

Treatment algorithm

ACUTE

epidemic (AIDS-related) KS

classic (sporadic) KS

iatrogenic (transplant-related) KS

endemic (observed in sub-Saharan Africa) 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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