The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
Ask the Experts About

AIDS-Related CancersAIDS-Related Cancers
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

Is Kaposi's sarcoma a cancer or a herpes infection?
Oct 14, 2001

I have read that KS is not cancer at all but a type of herpes virus called herpes-8. If this is so, why do they prescribe chemotherpy for it? Should they use something like acylovir, the stuff that is used for herpes-2?

Response from Dr. Dezube

The question as to whether Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a cancer or a herpes virus infection is a good one. Basically KS is both a cancer AND an infection. Under the microscope KS looks like a cancer to a pathologist. That said, the real question is how does KS form. It turns out that for a patient to develop KS, one needs to be infected with human herpes virus-8 (HHV-8). The fact that HHV-8 causes cancer is not all that surprising in that many viruses are known to cause cancer. [The human papilloma virus can cause both cervical and anal cancer; the hepatitis B virus can cause liver cancer].

Although I can understand your query about acyclovir, the drug for herpes simplex and herpes zoster infection, it turns out that acyclovir will not work against HHV-8. No such luck.

So in short, HHV-8 is a virus which can lead to a cancer. It actually causes other types of cancer in addition to KS. However, it is very important to understand that the vast majority of folks who are infected with HHV-8 do NOT develop cancer.

Bloody sex!
Can non-hodgkin's lymphoma destroy the spinal column?

  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary



This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint