A new clinical study has shown that imatinib mesylate (Gleevec) has activity in AIDS-related Kaposis sarcoma (KS). Imatinib inhibits important pathways that spur cancer growth, resulting in the regression of KS tumors within 4 weeks in some patients. The study will be published November 30 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO).
"Imatinib is a targeted therapy originally shown to be effective in treating chronic myelogenous leukemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumors. This study and others are showing that the drug is also active in other cancers that express some of the same proteins," said Henry B. Koon, MD, Instructor of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School in Boston, and lead author of the study. "Studies like this one represent an exciting time in oncology, when our understanding of the development of diseases like KS coincide with the availability of effective treatments. Further research on imatinib in KS patients will be needed to determine appropriate dosing schedules."
Kaposis sarcoma is an AIDS-defining illness characterized by soft purplish lesions on the skin, mucous membranes, and internal organs. Although the incidence of KS has declined dramatically in the developed world since the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapies (HAART), it remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality for AIDS patients in the United States and a major cause of mortality in the third world, given the limited number of effective treatments for KS.
Danielle Potuto | EurekAlert!
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