Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a mesenchymal tumor, caused by herpes virus type 8 (HHV-8), and a characteristic neoplasm of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). After the emergence of AIDS in 1980, a more aggressive form of the disease, more common among homosexual or bisexual men and associated with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), was documented. It was soon recognized as an epidemic form of KS, which had a big impact on the Public Health due to its high magnitude and mortality. KS was the first opportunistic infection recognized in association with HIV and is still the most common neoplasm related to AIDS.
The introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) helped to strengthen the immune system of people infected with HIV and lowered the risk of these people to develop KS. Nevertheless, KS is still considered the most prevalent tumor among this population.
Although HAART does not interfere directly with the replication of HHV-8, cases of regression of KS-AIDS lesion have been observed frequently after the use of HAART in combination with chemotherapy or radiotherapy,5 though the mechanism by which HAART leads to the regression of KS remains controversial.2,3 The incidence of KS has substantially declined due to HAART,4 in the same way that KS-AIDS became less aggressive when compared to KS among individuals with no antiretroviral treatment.6,7
In Brazil, from 1996 to 2010 - already in the post-HAART era -, the incidence of KS was still 2.5 times higher than in the United States of America (USA), and it remains as the most common neoplasm in HIV carriers.8
The aim of this presentation is to describe trends in prevalence of Kaposi's sarcoma in patients with AIDS and identify the factors associated with the occurrence of this neoplasm in Brazil.