Kaposi’s sarcoma

Definition of Kaposi’s sarcoma

Kaposi’s sarcoma is a cancerous of the connective tissue, and is often associated with AIDS.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Before the AIDS epidemic, Kaposi’s sarcoma was seen mainly in elderly Italian and Jewish men, and rarely, in elderly women. Among this group, the tumors developed slowly. In AIDS patients, the cancer can develop quickly. The cancer may also involve the skin, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and other organs.

Symptoms

The tumors most often appear as bluish-red or purple bumps on the skin. They are reddish-purple because they are rich in blood vessels.

Signs and tests

The following tests may be performed to diagnose Kaposi’s sarcoma:

Treatment

How this condition is treated depends on:

Expectations (prognosis)

Treating Kaposi’s sarcoma does not improve the chances of survival from AIDS itself. The outlook depends on the person’s immune status and how much of the HIV virus is in the patient’s blood (viral load).

Review

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 9/15/2010

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ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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