One hundred and five Kaposi sarcoma patients: a clinical study in Xinjiang, Northwest of China


  • Conflict of interest

    • None declared.



Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is an unusual illness that may be associated with human herpes virus 8 (HHV-8) infections, and appears mainly in Jews, Italians and Greeks. There is a lack of patient data in Xinjiang regarding the clinical characteristics of KS.


To review the clinical characteristics of a series of patients with KS in Xinjiang, Northwest China, over 16-year period.


A retrospective analysis of patients referred to a Xinjiang hospital in Northwest China with classic KS (CKS) and AIDS-associated KS (AIDS-KS) between January 1997 and April 2013 was performed. Reviewed information included demographics, clinical features, histopathological traits, treatment and presence of HHV-8 infection.


During the study period, 105 patients with a diagnosis of KS, including 77 CKS and 28 AIDS-KS, were referred to our hospital. Mean age at diagnosis was 55.8 ± 16.8 years (range: 25–85 years). There were 70 (90.9%) males and 7 (9.1%) females (male-to-female ratio: 10 : 1) having CKS and 21 (75.0%) males and 7 (25.0%) females (male-to-female ratio: 3 : 1) with AIDS-KS. Most of the patients were Uyghur, including 67 CKS and 24 AIDS-KS. The rate of multifocal lesions at diagnosis was 98.1% (103/105). The most common area of lesions was between 1% and 5% of CKS and AIDS-KS. The main types of lesions were nodules, patches and plaques. The lower extremity and foot were the most common locations for CKS and AIDS-KS. In addition to skin damage, the penis, mouth, lymph nodes and interstitial lung tissues were involved in some cases. No second primary malignancy was diagnosed. Systemic chemotherapy and radiotherapy were effective treatments for CKS. The HHV-8 positivity rate was 98.98% in 98 KS cases.


In Xinjiang, most CKS and AIDS-KS patients were older Uyghur men. AIDS-KS was found predominantly among 30-year-old Uyghur patients, compared with 60 years for those having CKS. The latter exhibited certain characteristics such as disseminated skin disease; in some patients, the condition was accompanied by lymphedema, visceral or lymph node involvement, but no secondary malignancies. In addition, the HHV-8 positivity rate associated with KS was very high.