Kaposi Sarcoma Medication

Updated: Apr 11, 2019
  • Author: Jessica Katz, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Edwin Choy, MD, PhD  more...
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Medication

Medication Summary

The goals of pharmacotherapy for Kaposi sarcoma (KS) are to eradicate the sarcoma, reduce morbidity, and prevent complications.

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Taxanes

Class Summary

Taxanes inhibit cell growth and differentiation by preventing depolymerization of microtubules.

Paclitaxel (Taxol)

Promotes the assembly of microtubules from tubulin dimers and stabilizes microtubules by preventing depolymerization. FDA-approved for the treatment of patients with AIDS-related KS.

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Anthracyclines

Class Summary

Anthracyclines inhibit cell growth and differentiation by inhibiting topoisomerase II and producing free radicals, which may cause the destruction of DNA.

Doxorubicin HCL liposome (Doxil)

Binds to DNA and impairs nucleic acid synthesis. Doxil is doxorubicin encapsulated in a pegylated liposome. This technology allows for longer area under the time-concentration curve than with free doxorubicin. Additionally allows for increased selective drug delivery to tumor tissues. Doxorubicin and daunorubicin currently serve as first-line treatment for individuals with advanced KS. An ongoing clinical trial being conducted by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) is comparing paclitaxel to Doxil in chemo-naïve patients with advanced symptomatic KS.

Daunorubicin citrate liposome (DaunoXome)

Liposomal preparation of daunorubicin. Inhibits DNA and RNA synthesis by intercalating between DNA base pairs.

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Interferons

Class Summary

Interferons are naturally produced proteins with antiviral, antitumor, and immunomodulatory actions. Alpha-, beta-, and gamma-interferons may be administered topically, systemically, and intralesionally.

Interferon alfa 2b (Intron)

Thought to exert activity in KS through antiproliferative tumor effect and antiviral properties. Protein product manufactured by recombinant DNA technology. Mechanism of antitumor activity is not understood clearly; however, direct antiproliferative effects against malignant cells and modulation of host immune response may play important roles.

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Retinoids

Class Summary

Retinoids may reduce potential for malignant degeneration.

Alitretinoin gel 0.1% (Panretin)

Naturally occurring endogenous retinoid. Inhibits growth of KS by binding to retinoid receptors.

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Vinca alkaloids

Class Summary

Vinca alkaloids inhibit microtubule formation, which in turn disrupts the formation of mitotic spindle, causing cell proliferation to arrest at metaphase.

Vinblastine sulfate (Velban)

Vinca alkaloid derived from the periwinkle plant. Induces arrest of cell division by inhibiting microtubule formation.

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