Kaposi's Sarcoma

Patients are grouped depending on which type of Kaposi's sarcoma they have. There are three types of Kaposi's sarcoma:

  • Classic — Classic Kaposi's sarcoma is often described as occurring mainly in older men of Jewish, Italian or Mediterranean heritage. However, it also is relatively more common throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa, South America, the Middle East and the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe than in Western Europe and the United States.

    This type of Kaposi's sarcoma progresses slowly, sometimes over a period of 10 to 15 years. As the disease gets worse, the lower legs may swell and the blood may not be able to flow properly. After some time, the disease may spread to other organs.
  • Immunosuppressive-Treatment Related — Kaposi's sarcoma may occur in people who are taking drugs called immunosuppresants to make their immune systems weaker. The immune system helps the body fight off infection. People who have had organ transplants, such as a liver or kidney transplants, have to take drugs to prevent their immune systems from attacking the new organs.
  • Epidemic — Kaposi's sarcoma in patients who have AIDS is called epidemic Kaposi's sarcoma. It usually spreads more quickly than other kinds of Kaposi's sarcoma and often is found in many parts of the body.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.