Clinical features and course of kaposi’s sarcoma in kidney transplant patients: Report of 13 cases

Giuseppe Montagnino, Pier Luca Bencini, Antonio Tarantino, Ruggero Caputo, Claudio Ponticelli

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We retrospectively evaluated the prevalence of Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) in 820 kidney transplant recipients with a follow-up period of at least 6 months. Thirteen patients developed a KS(1.6%): 2 were under conventional therapy and 11 under ciclosporin A. The onset of KS was 38.7 ± 38.3 (range 6-124) months after transplantation in the whole population and after 33.9 ± 19.7 months in the patients treated with ciclosporin A only. Nine were men and 4 women (male/female ratio: 2.25:1). The mean age at KS occurrence was 36.8 ± 11.1 years. The mean follow-up period since KS diagnosis was 35.9 ± 19.5 months. Clinical manifestation and severity of KS were heterogeneous: 5 patients had a KS with cutaneous involvement only, 8 patients a KS with multiple skin and mucosal and/or visceral lesions. Only 2 patients from the second group died of peritonitis due to intestinal lesions. In these 2 patients, immunosuppressive therapy had either been increased or reintroduced after a partial regression of KS. In all other patients, therapy was promptly reduced or withdrawn. In 1 patient local radiation therapy plus intralesional bleomycin administration were started and 1 patient received intralesional vincristine. Nine patients had a complete and 2 a partial remission of lesions. After therapy reduction, 4 patients lost their kidney (these patients however, had an already ongoing chronic rejection at KS diagnosis), in 2 there was an improvement of graft function, and in the other patients it remained stable. Our experience confirms that in most cases reduction or withdrawal of immunosuppression halts the evolution of both cutaneous and visceral lesions, without compromising graft function. However, in the few cases with a deteriorating renal function, the reinforcement of immunosuppression can lead to a rapid evolution of KS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-126
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Nephrology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • Immunosuppression
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Skin cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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