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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 28

of 'AIDS-related Kaposi sarcoma: Staging and treatment'

Treatment of AIDS-associated Kaposi's sarcoma in Zimbabwe: results of a randomized quality of life focused clinical trial.
Olweny CL, Borok M, Gudza I, Clinch J, Cheang M, Kiire CF, Levy L, Otim-Oyet D, Nyamasve J, Schipper H
Int J Cancer. 2005;113(4):632.
Kaposi's sarcoma is currently the most common tumor in Zimbabwe. The purpose of our study is to compare the effectiveness of supportive care vs. 3 intervention approaches, namely oral Etoposide, a 3-drug combination, and radiotherapy using quality of life (QOL) as the primary measure of success. In addition, our study was to determine whether a disease-specific module has greater sensitivity to group differences than a generic QOL questionnaire and to determine the most pragmatic approach to treating epidemic Kaposi's sarcoma (EKS) in Zimbabwe. Histologically confirmed HIV-positive patients with Kaposi's sarcoma were randomized to receive supportive care only or supportive care plus either radiotherapy, oral Etoposide or a 3-drug combination consisting of actinomycin-D, vincristine and bleomycin. No patient received antiretroviral therapy. The primary outcome was QOL measured by the functional living index-cancer (FLI-C) and supplemented by the Kaposi's sarcoma module (KSM). From 1994-1999, 495 EKS patients were accrued, and 470 were evaluable. Of these, 433 are known to be dead, 26 are lost to follow-up and 11 are still alive. The group treated with oral Etoposide had a significantly better QOL than the radiotherapy group for the total FLI-C score (adjusted mean plus standard error at 3-months 89 +/- 3vs. 76 +/- 3; p = 0.004) and for the hardship (11 +/- 0.4 vs. 9 +/- 0.4; p = 0.001); social (10 +/- 0.4 vs. 8 +/- 0.4; p = 0.001) and nausea (9 +/- 0.4 vs. 8 +/- 0.4; p = 0.002) subscales. In addition, on the physical and psychological subscales, the Etoposide group had a significantly better QOL than the other 3 treatment groups (p<0.04). The 3-drug combination, supportive care and radiotherapy groups did not differ significantly from each other with respect to the total FLI-C score or its subscales. There were no group differences with respect to survival. Oral Etoposide therapy resulted in better total FLI-C QOL score than radiotherapy. As well, Etoposide resulted in better physical and psychological subscale scores than radiotherapy, 3-drugs and supportive care. Thus, funds permitting, oral Etoposide is a pragmatic approach to treating EKS in an environment where antiretroviral drugs are not universally available. The study underscores the value of undertaking studies in areas of disease prevalence and the necessity of selecting appropriate outcome measures.
WHO Collaborating Center for Quality of Life in Cancer Care, Winnipeg, Canada. charles.olweny@cancercare.mb.ca