Treatment outcomes of AIDS-associated Kaposi's sarcoma under a routine antiretroviral therapy program in Lilongwe, Malawi: Bleomycin/vincristine compared to vincristine monotherapy

Albert A. Mwafongo, Nora E. Rosenberg, Wingston Ng'ambi, Alexandra B. Werner, William M. Garneau, Joe Gumulira, Sam Phiri, Mina C. Hosseinipour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Despite Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) being the most prevalent AIDS-associated cancer in resource limited settings, optimal treatment options remain unknown. We assessed whether bleomycin/vincristine compared to vincristine monotherapy was associated with improved treatment outcomes for AIDS-associated KS among patients initiating combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in Malawi. Methods: All patients initiating cART and chemotherapy for AIDS-related KS were identified from an electronic data system from the HIV Lighthouse Clinic from 2002 to 2011. Treatment responses were compared between patients receiving vincristine monotherapy and vincristine/bleomycin. Binomial regression models were implemented to assess probability of tumor improvement for patients receiving vincristine/bleomycin compared to vincristine monotherapy after a complete cycle of chemotherapy (9-10 months). A chi-squared test was used to compare changes in CD4 count after six months of chemotherapy. Results: Of 449 patients with AIDS-associated KS on chemotherapy, 94% received vincristine monotherapy and 6% received bleomycin/vincristine. Distribution of treatment outcomes was different: 29% of patients on vincristine experienced tumor improvement compared to 53% of patients on bleomycin/vincristine. Patients receiving bleomycin/vincristine were 2.25 (95% CI: 1.47, 3.44) times as likely to experience tumor improvement as to those on vincristine monotherapy. This value changed little after adjustment for age and baseline CD4 count: 2.46 (95% CI: 1.57, 3.86). Change in CD4 count was similar for patients receiving vincristine monotherapy and bleomycin/vincristine (p = 0.6). Conclusion: Bleomycin/vincristine for the treatment of AIDS-associated KS was associated with better tumor response compared to vincristine monotherapy without impairing CD4 count recovery. Replication in larger datasets and randomized controlled trials is necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere91020
JournalPloS one
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 14 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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