The natural history of Kaposi's sarcoma in the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Kaposi's sarcoma is a multifocal systemic neoplasm histologically characterized by proliferating fibroblastic and microvascular elements. Initial signs include macules, papules, or nodules on the skin or mucosal surface. Lesions are frequently found on the trunk, arms, and head and neck. In general, sites of involvement and tumor load do not correlate with prognosis. A general decrease in the functional capacities of T and B cells is found in most patients. Kaposi's sarcoma is reported as the initial manifestation of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in approximately 30% of cases. Most cases are in men, although it has been reported in all risk groups. Kaposi's sarcoma in AIDS is more frequent among whites and homosexuals than blacks and intravenous drug abusers. Overall mortality is approximately 41%, with over 60% of patients alive at 1 year and 50% at 22 months. Overall survival is 18 months; however, some patients who have had the disease for 3 to 4 years are still doing well.