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Kaposi Sarcoma Treatment (PDQ®)

Immunosuppressive Therapy–Related Kaposi Sarcoma Treatment

Some patients with Kaposi Sarcoma (KS) have noted spontaneous and lasting remissions following discontinuation of immunosuppressive therapy. In managing these patients, if immunosuppressive therapy is not critical, its discontinuation is a reasonable first step.

Standard treatment options:

  1. Discontinue immunosuppressive therapy (often results in tumor regression). This option is critically important in patients who are receiving immunosuppressive drugs, as in the case of certain transplant patients.
  2. Radiation therapy (for disease limited to skin).[1-4]
  3. Chemotherapy (single or multiple drug): Most systemic chemotherapy trials in KS patients have been carried out in the African and epidemic varieties. See the section on the treatment of Epidemic Kaposi Sarcoma. The applicability of the results of these trials to KS in immunosuppressed patients is unknown.

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with immunosuppressive treatment related Kaposi sarcoma. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.


  1. Cohen L: Dose, time, and volume parameters in irradiation therapy of Kaposi's sarcoma. Br J Radiol 35 (415): 485-488, 1962.
  2. Hamilton CR, Cummings BJ, Harwood AR: Radiotherapy of Kaposi's sarcoma. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 12 (11): 1931-5, 1986. [PUBMED Abstract]
  3. Lo TC, Salzman FA, Smedal MI, et al.: Radiotherapy for Kaposi's sarcoma. Cancer 45 (4): 684-7, 1980. [PUBMED Abstract]
  4. Nisce LZ, Safai B, Poussin-Rosillo H: Once weekly total and subtotal skin electron beam therapy for Kaposi's sarcoma. Cancer 47 (4): 640-4, 1981. [PUBMED Abstract]
  • Updated: October 17, 2014