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AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma: Staging and treatment

Jerome E Groopman, MD
Section Editor
David M Aboulafia, MD
Deputy Editor
Sadhna R Vora, MD


Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a low-grade vascular tumor associated with infection with human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), also known as the KS-associated herpesvirus (KSHV).

AIDS-related KS has a variable clinical course, ranging from minimal disease presenting as an incidental finding to a rapidly progressing neoplasm that can result in significant morbidity and mortality, depending upon the specific sites of involvement [1]. In addition to physical symptoms due to tumors, the psychosocial burden associated with KS may be profound and includes emotional distress, guilt, and anger [2].

The staging and treatment of AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma are discussed here. The clinical manifestations and diagnosis of this disorder are discussed separately. (See "AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis".)


Staging system — The most commonly utilized staging system for AIDS-related KS was developed by the AIDS Clinical Trial Group (ACTG) of the National Institute of Health [3]. This system divides patients into good or poor risk prognostic categories, taking into account both the KS and HIV infection.

Patients are categorized according to three parameters (table 1):

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Aug 30, 2017.
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