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Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) is not exclusive to HIV infection. Human herpesvirus 8 causes KS. There are 4 known KS variants

  • African or endemic (AKS)
  • Classic or Mediterranean (CKS)
  • Post-transplantation (iatrogenic)
  • AIDS-associated or epidemic (AIDS-KS)

AKS is prevalent in subequatorial Africa, quite aggressive, affecting not just skin but also internal organs. If it involves lymph nodes, as often seen in children and young adults, it can be quickly fatal.

CKS is rare, predominantly affects men (male to female ratio is 10 to 15 versus 1), mainly elderly Eastern European Jewish or Mediterranean men. CKS tumors are slow-growing, mild with lesions mainly in skin of the lower limbs (legs, ankles or soles of the feet).

Post-transplantation (iatrogenic) shows up in organ transplant patients after chronic immunosuppressive therapy. Often lesions are in the mouth (oral mucosa) but also elsewhere including internal organs.

AIDS-KS is the most aggressive type of KS. Unlike the other 3 types of KS, it doesn’t show preferential patterns of localization. Lesions are widely spread across the skin as well as in mouth and internal organs (liver, lung, GI tract, spleen).

Relevant references

1. Régnier-Rosencher, Elodie, Bernard Guillot, and Nicolas Dupin. “Treatments for classic Kaposi sarcoma: a systematic review of the literature.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 68.2 (2013): 313-331.

2. Sgadari, Cecilia, et al. “Pharmacological management of Kaposi’s sarcoma.” Expert opinion on pharmacotherapy 12.11 (2011): 1669-1690. http://hiv1tat-vaccines.info/pub…