Pharyngolaryngeal location of Kaposi's sarcoma with airway obstruction in an HIV-negative patient

Sara Torretta, Michele Gaffuri, Sebastiano Recalcati, Angelo Valerio Marzano, Giovanna Cantarella, Elisabetta Iofrida, Lorenzo Pignataro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a human herpes virus-8 (HHV-8)-associated angioproliferative disorder, and its occurrence may be favored by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and iatrogenic immunosuppression. It has also been postulated that a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin can pave the way to its development. KS generally involves mucosal and cutaneous sites, including the head and neck. An oropharyngeal location is quite common, but laryngeal involvement with possible upper airway obstruction and respiratory distress requiring tracheotomy is rare, and no hypopharyngeal locations have yet been reported. We describe the case of a 68-year-old male patient who developed KS after immunosuppressive treatment for pemphigus vulgaris, an autoimmune bullous disease presenting with blisters and erosions on the skin and the oral mucosa. KS was initially localized to the oral cavity and oropharynx, but subsequent involvement of the laryngeal and hypopharyngeal tract led to acute airway obstruction and the need for tracheotomy. This unique case of pharyngolaryngeal KS suggests that clinicians faced with purple nodular lesions should consider a differential diagnosis of KS in immunocompromised patients, even if they are HIV negative, and should carefully manage the patency of the upper airways.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013


  • Kaposi's sarcoma
  • Pemphigus vulgaris
  • Upper airway obstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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