Biological Therapy to Treat Kaposi Sarcoma
Name of the Trial
Phase II Study of Bevacizumab in Patients With Classic or Epidemic Kaposi Sarcoma (NCI-03-C-0110G). See the protocol summary.
Dr. Robert Yarchoan, NCI Center for Cancer Research
Why This Trial Is Important
Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is a tumor that generally develops in multiple sites on the skin. It can also arise in the mouth or internal organs, including the intestinal tract and lungs. Classic KS usually occurs in older men of Jewish, Italian, or Mediterranean heritage.
Until recently, KS was a rare cancer. Beginning in the early 1980s, however, there was a marked increase in KS as part of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic. We now know that KS is caused by a herpesvirus called Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) or human herpes virus-8.
Bevacizumab (Avastin®), a type of biological agent called a monoclonal antibody, blocks the formation and growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) by targeting a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Angiogenesis is necessary for all tumors to grow, but KS may be particularly vulnerable to agents that inhibit angiogenesis because blood vessel cells are the main component of KS lesions.
“Some cytotoxic drugs can control Kaposi sarcoma,” said Dr. Yarchoan, “but these are not curative, in part because they can’t eradicate the virus that causes it. We thus need to develop effective therapies that can be tolerated for long periods of time. Bevacizumab is reasonably well-tolerated and targets the central feature of KS, the formation of new blood vessels.”
For More Information
This study is no longer accepting patients. To find other clinical trials for Kaposi sarcoma, search the NCI's listing of clinical trials or call the NCI Clinical Trial Referral Office at 1-888-NCI-1937. The call is toll free and confidential.