PloS one 2016 4 1511(4) e0153335 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0153335
Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is the most common HIV-associated malignancy in children and adolescents in Africa. Pediatric KS is distinct from adult disease. We evaluated the clinical characteristics associated with long-term outcomes. We performed a retrospective observational analysis of 70 HIV-infected children and adolescents with KS less than 18 years of age diagnosed between 8/2010 and 6/2013 in Lilongwe, Malawi. Local first-line treatment included bleomycin and vincristine plus nevirapine-based highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART). Median age was 8.6 years (range 1.7-17.9); there were 35 females (50%). Most common sites of presentation were: lymph node (74%), skin (59%), subcutaneous nodules (33%), oral (27%), woody edema (24%), and visceral (16%). Eighteen (26%) presented with lymphadenopathy only. Severe CD4 suppression occurred in 28%. At time of KS diagnosis, 49% were already on HAART. Overall, 28% presented with a platelet count < 100 x 109/L and 37% with hemoglobin < 8 g/dL. The 2-year event-free (EFS) and overall survival (OS) were 46% and 58% respectively (median follow-up 29 months, range 15-50). Multivariable analysis of risk of death and failure to achieve EFS demonstrated that visceral disease (odds ratios [OR] 19.08 and 11.61, 95% CI 2.22-163.90 and 1.60-83.95 respectively) and presenting with more than 20 skin/oral lesions (OR 9.57 and 22.90, 95% CI 1.01-90.99 and 1.00-524.13 respectively) were independent risk factors for both. Woody edema was associated with failure to achieve EFS (OR 7.80, 95% CI 1.84-33.08) but not death. Univariable analysis revealed that lymph node involvement was favorable for EFS (OR 0.28, 95% CI 0.08-0.99), while T1 TIS staging criteria, presence of cytopenias, and severe immune suppression were not associated with increased mortality. Long-term complete remission is achievable in pediatric KS, however outcomes vary according to clinical presentation. Based on clinical heterogeneity, treatment according to risk-stratification is necessary to improve overall outcomes.