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Kaposi's sarcoma


It is a type of cancer in which tumors with tiny blood vessels develop below the surface of the skin, & in the mouth, eyes, nose & anus. It further spreads into the lungs, liver, intestines, stomach & lymph nodes; which are involved in fighting the infection. The skin lesions are purple in color & can occur singly, in a limited area, or maybe widespread. And the condition worsens either gradually or quickly.

It has 4 subtypes namely classic, endemic, epidemic & immunosuppression therapy-related. Classic KS affects older males, endemic KS occurs in young adult males, immunosuppression therapy-related KS occurs in organ transplantation & mostly affects the skin, while epidemic KS occurs in AIDS & many parts of the body are affected.


It is caused by Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) which is also known as HHV-8. This virus encodes circular RNAs, microRNAs & oncogenes which promotes cancer cell proliferation (rapid multiplication) & its escape from the immune system.

Its transmission occurs through saliva, & kissing poses a theoretical risk factor for transmission. Other transmission modes can be through organ transplant & blood transfusion.

Risk factors

Its possible risk factors include:

  • Men are affected eight times more than women.
  • In people with HIV, those men who are involved in intercourse with other men are likely to get this virus & suffer from Kaposi’s sarcoma.
  • People infected with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) that causes AIDS are at the highest risk.
  • Patients taking immune system-suppressing medications in organ transplants.
  • Most people carry this virus without any problem as their immune system is healthy. This triggers cancers in people with the weak immune systems

Kaposi’s sarcoma symptoms can vary with the part of the body that is affected by the disease:

  • SKIN: lesions on the skin (abnormal growth) that are flat, painless spots either red or purple on light skin, & bluish/brownish or black on dark skin.
  • MUCOUS MEMBRANE (the membrane that lines various cavities in the body): lesions develop inside the mouth & throat (trouble eating & swallowing) & on the eyes or eyelids.
  • LYMPH NODES: lesions lead to severe swelling in arms, legs, face, or scrotum.
  • RESPIRATORY TRACT: lead to serious coughing & shortness of breath
  • DIGESTIVE TRACT: leads to upset stomach, vomiting, belly pain, diarrhea, anemia (low RBC’s) & bloody/black stool

Although the appearance of lesions may help suspected possible KS, its definite diagnosis will be made via:

  • Biopsy (sample of tissue taken from the body),
  • Detection of KSHV protein LANA (latency-associated nuclear antigen) in tumor cells.
  • Fecal occult blood test
  • Chest X-ray
  • Under endoscopy (a thin tube passed through the mouth)
  • Bronchoscopy (a thin tube passed through nose or mouth into lungs)
  • Colonoscopy (thin tube passed through rectum)

Its management involves:

  • The first step is to start with the antiviral drug combination
  • If possible, the patient should stop taking immune system-suppressing medication which will allow the immune system to eradicate cancer in some cases.
  • For small skin lesions treatment include:
  1. Minor surgery
  2. Cryotherapy (freezing) or Electrodesiccation (burning)
  3. Low-dose radiation
  4. Injection of the chemotherapy drug
  5. Vitamin A-like drug (retinoid)
When more than 25 lesions exist, you may have to start with standard anti-cancer medications
When to consult a doctor?

You should consult a doctor if you see visible lesions develop on your skin, eye or eyelids. When you start experiencing trouble in eating & swallowing, swelling in arms/legs/face or scrotum, serious coughing or trouble breathing, upset stomach, vomiting, belly pain, or bloody/black stools; then immediately consult a doctor & get tested.


Available Medicine for Kaposi's sarcoma

Etocid 100mg


A.J Mirza

Etoposide 100mg



Etopul 100mg



Etoside 100mg



Fytosid 100mg



Lastet 50mg



Lastet 100mg



Lymhoside 100mg



Toposide 100mg