First described by Moritz Kaposi in 1872, Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) has received renewed attention since its association with HIV in-fection and AIDS. Its occurrence with AIDS involves a more varied and aggressive form of KS than was seen previously. Before the AIDS epidemic, KS was considered a rare malignancy. It was sub-divided into three categories: classic KS, African (endemic) KS, and KS associated with immunosuppressant therapy. Classic KS occurs predominantly in men of Mediterranean or Jewish ancestry between the ages of 40 and 70 years. Most patients have nodules or plaques on the lower extremities that rarely metastasize beyond the lower extremities. This KS is chronic, relatively benign, and rarely fatal.
African KS affects people predominantly in the eastern half of Africa near the equator. Men are affected more often than women, and children can be affected as well. The disease may re-semble classic KS, or it may infiltrate and progress to lymphadeno-pathic forms.
KS associated with immunosuppressive therapy, as in transplant recipients, is characterized by local skin lesions and disseminated visceral and mucocutaneous diseases. The greater the degree of immunosuppression, the higher is the incidence of KS.
AIDS-related KS was identified in the early 1980s as distinctly different from previously described types of KS. Typically, it is an aggressive tumor that involves multiple body organs. Its presen-tation resembles that of KS associated with immunosuppressive therapy. Most patients are between the ages of 20 and 40 years (Odom et al., 2000).
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