Sarcoma - Kaposi: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2023

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done to learn more about Kaposi sarcoma and how to treat it. Use the menu to see other pages.

Doctors are working to learn more about Kaposi sarcoma, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the best diagnostic and treatment options for you.

  • Immunotherapy. As explained in Types of Treatment, immunotherapy uses the body's natural defenses to fight cancer by improving your immune system’s ability to attack cancer cells. Research studies are investigating the use of immune checkpoint inhibitors in people with Kaposi sarcoma. If an immunotherapy can be found that works against Kaposi sarcoma or against human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), such drugs could help eliminate Kaposi sarcoma. However, it is not clear what these drugs do to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is one reason why Kaposi sarcoma can develop in the first place.

  • New HIV/AIDS treatment. New and better treatments for HIV and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) mean that fewer people are developing Kaposi sarcoma. Improved HIV/AIDS treatments in the future may further reduce the risk of Kaposi sarcoma.

  • Combination chemotherapy. Combination chemotherapy uses more than 1 drug (given together) to treat Kaposi sarcoma. In addition to more than 1 type of chemotherapy, researchers are also looking at combinations of chemotherapy and antiretroviral drugs, which are typically used to treat people with HIV/AIDS.

  • Virus research. Research is ongoing to learn more about HHV-8 and its link to Kaposi sarcoma.

  • Palliative and supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current Kaposi sarcoma treatments to improve comfort and quality of life for patients.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like more information about the latest areas of research in Kaposi sarcoma, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

The next section in this guide is Coping with Treatment. It offers some guidance on how to cope with the physical, emotional, social, and financial changes that cancer and its treatment can bring. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.