Kaposi Sarcoma

Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is a disease in which cancerous cells are present in the tissues under the skin or mucous membranes that line the mouth, nose and anus. KS causes red or purple patches (lesions) on the skin or mucous membranes and spreads to other organs in the body, such as the lungs, liver or intestinal tract.

If there are signs of KS, a doctor will examine the skin and lymph nodes carefully (lymph nodes are small bean-shaped structures that are found throughout the body; they produce and store infection-fighting cells). The doctor also may order other tests to see if the patient has other diseases. The chance of recovery (prognosis) depends on what type of Kaposi’s sarcoma the patient has, the patient’s age and general health, and whether or not the patient has AIDS.

Source: National Cancer Institute

See Owen Clinic for additional information on HIV/AIDS treatment at UCSD.

Classic Kaposi Sarcoma

Treatment for single lesions may include:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery

Treatment for lesions all over the body may include:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy

Treatment for Kaposi sarcoma that affects lymph nodes or the gastrointestinal tract usually includes chemotherapy with or without radiation therapy.

Immunosuppressive Treatment-related Kaposi Sarcoma

Treatment for immunosuppressive treatment-related Kaposi sarcoma may include the following:

  • Stopping or reducing immunosuppressive drug therapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy using one or more anticancer drugs

Epidemic Kaposi Sarcoma

Treatment for epidemic Kaposi sarcoma may include the following:

  • Surgery, including local excision or electrodesiccation and curettage
  • Cryosurgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy using one or more anticancer drugs
  • Biologic therapy
  • A clinical trial of new drug therapy, or biologic therapy

Recurrent Kaposi Sarcoma

Treatment for recurrent Kaposi sarcoma depends on which type of Kaposi sarcoma the patient has. Treatment may include a clinical trial of a new therapy.

Care Team

Our physicians work closely with advanced practitioners, nurses, social workers and support staff to manage your care. Our team includes:

Erin Reid, MD

Edward Ball, MD