What to Know About Chemotherapy for Kaposi’s Sarcoma

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Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill all cells that grow rapidly, including cancer cells.

Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. These drugs attack and kill cells that divide quickly, including cancer cells and some normal cells. For this treatment, you will see a medical oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in using drugs to treat cancer.

Types of Drugs You May Take

Most chemotherapy drugs go into your bloodstream. In that way, they can reach every part of your body. The first line chemotherapy for people with AIDS-related KS uses drugs called liposomal anthracyclines. These drugs are inside tiny fat bubbles called liposomes. The fat bubbles help the drugs work effectively and help prevent side effects.

The currently approved liposomal anthracyclines are Doxil (doxorubicin) and DaunoXome (daunorubicin).

They produce these good and long-lasting responses in many people.

  • Each of these drugs shrinks tumors.

  • They reduce swelling caused by blocked lymph nodes, called lymphedema.

  • They reduce stomach and intestinal problems, pain, and lesions.

These are some other common chemotherapy drugs used to treat AIDS-related KS.

  • Blenoxane (bleomycin)

  • Navelbine (vinorelbine)

  • Oncovin (vincristine)

  • Velban (vinblastine)

  • VePesid (etoposide)

  • Taxol (paclitaxel)

How You Take the Drugs

You may get one of these drugs alone, or more than one combined.

If you have just a few lesions, your doctor can inject the drugs right into the lesions. This is called intralesional chemotherapy. This is very effective in lesions found in the mouth. Your doctor may inject the chemotherapy drugs Velban (vinblastine) or Sotradecol (sodium tetradecyl sulfate). With this treatment, the drugs do not travel through your body. So you may have fewer side effects.

 


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