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Epidemiology, etiology and pathogenesis, clinical presentations and therapeutic approaches in Kaposi's sarcoma: 15-year lessons from AIDS.

Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a leading cause of morbidity among 25-30% of AIDS patients and is by far the most common AIDS-associated malignancy. Since the beginning of the 1990s the incidence of KS continuously declined, but it was the introduction of protease inhibitors that markedly reinforced this phenomenon. In our experience, the annual incidence was 59/1,000 patient-years in 1984 vs 21.2/1,000 patient-years in 1990, 12.5/1,000 patient-years in 1996, with a drop to 3.2/1,000 patient-years in 1997. One of the peculiar characteristic of this tumor is the sexual susceptibility, which could be the consequence of a hormonal protection in females. The in vitro models of KS-like cell culture promoted and sustained in vitro with a conditioned medium containing several pro-inflammatory cytokines, the characterization of human herpes virus-8 (HHV-8) in almost all the cases of AIDS-KS as the putative KS-agent and the determination of a putative role of hCG-associated factors in the control of KS growth are among the leading discoveries of this last decade in this field.

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