Purpose: Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a spindle cell tumor resulting from growth dysregulation in the setting of infection with human herpes virus-8 (also called KS herpes virus). Advanced KS is characterized by poor responses to antiretroviral therapy and some of the chemotherapy readily accessible to patients in low-resource areas. Gemcitabine induced partial and complete regression of AIDS-associated KS (AIDS-KS) in 11 of 24 patients in a pilot study. The current study compares the antimetabolite gemcitabine with the standard care bleomycin and vincristine (BV) in the treatment of chemotherapy-naïve patients with AIDS-KS in a resource-limited setting. Patients and Methods: Patients with persistent or progressive KS despite treatment with combined antiretroviral therapy were randomly assigned to receive gemcitabine 1,000 mg/m2 or bleomycin 15 IU/ m2 and vincristine 1.4 mg/m2 given twice weekly. The main end point was objective response by bidirectional measurement, adverse events, and quality of life after three cycles of chemotherapy. Results: Of 70 participants enrolled, 36 received gemcitabine and 34 received BV. Complete response was achieved in 12 patients (33.3%) in the gemcitabine arm and six (17.6%) in the BV arm (P = .175). The partial response rate was 52.8% (n = 19) in the gemcitabine arm and 58.8% (n = 20) in the BV arm. Both study arms reported similar neurologic and hematologic adverse events; there was statistically significant baseline to post-treatment improvement in health-related quality-of-life scores. Conclusion: The results of this randomized, phase IIA trial demonstrate gemcitabine activity in chemotherapy-naïve patients with AIDS-KS, on the basis of response rates, adverse events, and health-related quality-of-life scores.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research