Imatinib for highly chemoresistant Kaposi sarcoma in a patient with long-term HIV control: a case report and literature review

W. Cao, K. Vyboh, B. Routy, M. Chababi-Atallah, B. Lemire, J.P. Routy


Kaposi sarcoma (ks) is a vascular tumour caused by oncogenic human herpesvirus type 8; it often occurs with hiv-associated immunosuppression. Numerous cellular signalling pathways are involved in the pathogenesis of ks, among which receptor tyrosine kinases such as the c-Kit and platelet-derived growth factor receptors play an important role. Imatinib mesylate, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, has resulted in partial regression of ks lesions in one third of treated patients, but its mechanism of action remains unclear.

Here, we report the case of a white man with recurrent ks despite well-suppressed hiv infection and multiple chemotherapies who received imatinib and showed a complete and sustained tumour response. To our knowledge, this report is the first showing the value of imatinib in the management of ks in the context of long-lasting hiv control with adequate quantitative CD4 recovery. Our case indicates that imatinib can be a treatment option for highly chemoresistant recurrent ks in patients on long-term antiretroviral therapy.


HIV-1; Kaposi sarcoma; imatinib; autophagy

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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)