Our 24/7 cancer helpline provides information and answers for people dealing with cancer. We can connect you with trained cancer information specialists who will answer questions about a cancer diagnosis and provide guidance and a compassionate ear.
Our highly trained specialists are available 24/7 via phone and on weekdays can assist through video calls and online chat. We connect patients, caregivers, and family members with essential services and resources at every step of their cancer journey. Ask us how you can get involved and support the fight against cancer. Some of the topics we can assist with include:
For medical questions, we encourage you to review our information with your doctor.
A great deal of research is being done to find more effective ways to prevent and treat Kaposi sarcoma (KS).
Probably the most important advance in the prevention of AIDS-related KS has been the development of drugs that help control HIV infection and AIDS. This has reduced the chance of getting KS.
Testing for Kaposi sarcoma--associated herpesvirus (KSHV), the virus that causes KS, could help manage patients at risk for KS, including those who are HIV-positive or those who will be having an organ transplant and will be taking drugs to suppress their immune system.
Newer drugs, such as valganciclovir, used to treat related herpesviruses such as cytomegalovirus (CMV) can also help treat KSHV infections. These drugs stop the KSHV-infected cells from making more of the virus, although they haven’t been found to help treat KS once it has developed.
Researchers are studying new and different ways to treat KS.
KS lesions depend on the formation of new blood vessels for their growth. Drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors, which block the growth of blood vessels within tumors, may help treat these lesions. For example, the drug bevacizumab (Avastin®) has been shown to cause some KS lesions to shrink or stop growing in a small study. This drug and other angiogenesis inhibitors, such as sirolimus and everolimus, are being studied further.
Drugs called immunomodulating agents both boost the immune system and affect blood vessel growth, so these drugs may be helpful against KS. The oldest of these drugs, thalidomide (Thalomid®), has been shown to help shrink some KS lesions in early studies, but this drug can have side effects that make it hard to take. Related drugs, such as lenalidomide (Revlimid®) and pomalidomide (Pomalyst®), which tend to have fewer side effects, are now being studied.
Some other drugs that are already used to treat other cancers are also being studied for use against KS, including bortezomib (Velcade®), imatinib (Gleevec®), and sorafenib (Nexavar®).
Research into HIV vaccines and antiretroviral drugs also may have a great impact on AIDS-related KS.
KSHV also offers a new target for KS drugs and biologic therapy. Clinical trials are testing whether antiviral drugs that target KSHV may be used for KS.
Hoffmann C, Sabranski M, Esser S. HIV-Associated Kaposi's Sarcoma. Oncol Res Treat. 2017;40(3):94-98.
Koon HB, Krown SE, Lee JY, et al. Phase II trial of imatinib in AIDS-associated Kaposi's sarcoma: AIDS Malignancy Consortium Protocol 042. J Clin Oncol. 2014 Feb 10;32(5):402-8. Epub 2013 Dec 30.
Little RF, Wyvill KM, Pluda JM, et al. Activity of thalidomide in AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma. J Clin Oncol. 2000;18:2593−2602.
Martinez V, Tateo M, Castilla MA et al. Lenalidomide in treating AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma. AIDS 2011; 25: 878–880.
Polizzotto MN, Uldrick TS, Wyvil KM et al. Pomalidomide for Symptomatic Kaposi's Sarcoma in People With and Without HIV Infection: A Phase I/II Study. J Clin Oncol 2016 34:34, 4125-4131.
Stallone G, Schena A, Infante B, et al. Sirolimus for Kaposi’s sarcoma in renal-transplant recipients. N Engl J Med 2005; 352: 1317–1323.
Steff M, Joly V, Di Lucca J et al. Clinical activity of lenalidomide in visceral human immunodeficiency virus related Kaposi sarcoma. JAMA Dermatol 2013; 149: 1319–1322.
Uldrick TS, Wyvill KM, Kumar P, et al. Phase II study of bevacizumab in patients with HIV-associated Kaposi’s sarcoma receiving antiretroviral therapy. J Clin Oncol. 2012;30:1476−1483.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
Last Revised: April 19, 2018
Donate now so we can continue to provide access to critical cancer information, resources, and support to improve lives of people with cancer and their families.