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Kaposi's sarcoma and Doxil; How long should I be treated for
Jan 27, 2002

I was diagnosed with KS in Dec. 2001, and had my tonsils removed because of a lesion on them. I have five lesions on my body, and a few in my mouth/throat. I recently had my first Doxil treatment, and my oncologist says I may only need 2 treatments. Everything I read says that the normal course of treatment for Doxil includes about 6 treatments. What would determine whether I need 2 or more treatments? If my lesions are gone, does that mean that I am cured, or can this still be lurking in my blood? My viral load is now undetectable and CD4 is 325, but four months ago my viral load was 250,000 and CD4 was 97. Thanks for your time.

Response from Dr. Dezube

I personally treat patients with a couse of 6 treatments. This may be an issue of style. Your oncologist is not necessarily wrong if your therapy is cut short. Different cancer doctors approach things differently. The only time I cut the treatment short is if patients tolerate the chemotherapy poorly. When it comes to KS, we really don't use the word "cure". Kaposi's sarcoma is caused by a virus called HHV-8 (also known as the Kaposi's sarcoma herpes virus). The chemotherapy does not eliminate this viral infection (sorry). HOWEVER if your lesions are first shrunk by chemotherapy, and if you stay on your HIV therapy, then most likely your KS will not come back. The HIV meds help restore your immune system, which in turn, keeps the HHV-8 virus in a dormant state (i.e. in hibernation). So to answer your question, your KS is not cured, but rather in hibernation. Good luck with the chemotherapy. BD.

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