Kaposi sarcoma is a rare tumor that has numerous types, the most common of which is associated with advanced HIV.
All forms of Kaposi sarcoma (KS) are caused by a type of herpesvirus, Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV).
Most people with KSHV do not develop Kaposi sarcoma unless their immune system is suppressed.
What is it?
It originates in the endothelial cells that line blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, causing these to grow at a faster rate and to survive for longer than normal.
Types of Kaposi sarcoma
• Epidemic KS: This is the most common form of KS.
• Endemic KS: Also known as African Kaposi sarcoma, this form is relatively common in equatorial Africa and can affect children and adults independently of HIV transmission.
• Iatrogenic KS: This is also known as immunosuppressive treatment-related Kaposi sarcoma, immunosuppressive Kaposi sarcoma, or transplant-related Kaposi sarcoma.
HIV/AIDS related cancer
The appearance of Kaposi sarcoma lesions has historically triggered a diagnosis of late-stage HIV.
There have been reports more recently, however, of Kaposi sarcoma occurring in people whose HIV is being well managed with antiretroviral medications, and whose viral load is undetectable.
This has led some physicians to question whether Kaposi sarcoma should still be considered a diagnostic factor in stage 3 HIV.