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Keywords:

  • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection;
  • acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS);
  • Kaposi sarcoma;
  • paclitaxel;
  • pegylated liposomal doxorubicin

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Paclitaxel and pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) are active cytotoxic agents for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated Kaposi sarcoma (KS). A randomized trial comparing the efficacy and toxicity of paclitaxel and PLD was performed, and the effects of therapy on symptom palliation and quality of life were determined.

METHODS:

Patients with advanced HIV-associated KS were randomly assigned to receive paclitaxel at a dose of 100 mg/m2 intravenously (iv) every 2 weeks or PLD at a dose of 20 mg/m2 iv every 3 weeks. The KS Functional Assessment of HIV (FAHI) quality of life instrument was used before and after every other treatment cycle.

RESULTS:

The study included 73 analyzable patients enrolled between 1998 and 2002, including 36 in the paclitaxel arm and 37 in the PLD arm; 73% of patients received highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and 32% had an undetectable viral load (<400 copies/mL). Treatment was associated with significant improvements in pain (P = .024) and swelling (P < .001). Of the 36 patients who reported that pain interfered with their normal work or activities at baseline, 25 (69%) improved. Of the 41 patients who reported swelling at baseline, 38 (93%) improved. Comparing the paclitaxel and PLD arms revealed comparable response rates (56% vs 46%; P = .49), median progression-free survival (17.5 months vs 12.2 months; P = .66), and 2-year survival rates (79% vs 78%; P = .75), but somewhat more grade 3 to 5 toxicity for paclitaxel (84% vs 66%; P = .077).

CONCLUSIONS:

Treatment with either paclitaxel or PLD appears to produce significant improvements in pain and swelling in patients with advanced, symptomatic, HIV-associated KS treated in the HAART era. Cancer 2010. © 2010 American Cancer Society.