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Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is a cancer that develops from the cells that line lymph or blood vessels. It usually appears as tumors on the skin or on mucosal surfaces such as inside the mouth, but tumors can also develop in other parts of the body (including the lymph nodes, lungs, or digestive tract). The abnormal cells of Kaposi sarcoma cause purplish, reddish blue, or dark brown/black skin lesions (macules, nodules, plaques) on the legs and the face. These lesions may look bad, but they usually cause no symptoms. However, when the lesions are in the lungs, liver, or digestive tract, they may cause serious problems like gastrointestinal bleeding or trouble breathing. Kaposi sarcoma is caused by infection with a virus called the Kaposi sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV), also known as human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8). Kaposi sarcoma is classified into four types based upon the different populations in which it develops: classic (which presents in middle or old age), endemic (described in sub-Saharan indigenous Africans), iatrogenic (associated with immunosuppressive drug therapy) and AIDS-associated (epidemic KS). Options for treatment may include local therapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and biologic therapy (immunotherapy). The main aim is to restore immunity.
Source: GARD Last updated on 05-01-20
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