Indian Journal of Dermatology
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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 67  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 68-70
Kaposi sarcoma revealing a myelodysplastic syndrome

1 Department of Dermatology, Military Hospital of Tunis, Tunisia
2 Department of Histopathology, Military Hospital of Tunis, Tunisia

Date of Web Publication19-Apr-2022

Correspondence Address:
Wafa Jouini
Department of Dermatology, Military Hospital of Tunis
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijd.ijd_149_21

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How to cite this article:
Jouini W, Rabhi F, Gargouri F, Jaber K, Dhaoui A. Kaposi sarcoma revealing a myelodysplastic syndrome. Indian J Dermatol 2022;67:68-70

How to cite this URL:
Jouini W, Rabhi F, Gargouri F, Jaber K, Dhaoui A. Kaposi sarcoma revealing a myelodysplastic syndrome. Indian J Dermatol [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 May 29];67:68-70. Available from:


Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is a vascular proliferation associated with HHV8. First described among HIV patients, four different subtypes have been later defined.[1] Immunosuppression-associated form is usually seen after organ transplantation or immunosuppressive therapy. However, it can be due to idiopathic immunodepression or severe affections such as neoplasm. We report the case of KS revealing a myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

A 73-year-old female patient with history of high blood pressure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease presented with an 8-year history of erythematous-violaceous plaques on the nose and multiple nodules on the lower legs [Figure 1]. The diagnosis of KS was confirmed by histology [Figure 2] and immunohistochemical detection of HHV8 [Figure 3]. The HIV serology was negative. The patient wasn't under immunosuppressive therapy. Initially, external radiotherapy was indicated. However, it was interrupted after 6 sessions due to secondary edema. Two years later, she consulted for the extension of the lesion on the left leg with the appearance of violaceous nodules on the abdomen, the right cheek, the right shoulder and a violaceous plaque on the palate [Figure 4]. Multiple nodules of different sizes appeared on the upper left leg. Some of them were multilobed [Figure 5]. The left feet had a verrucous and hyperkeratotic aspect with toenail dystrophy [Figure 6]. A digestive localization of KS was ruled out using gastrointestinal endoscopy. The complete blood count revealed anemia associated to vitamin B12 deficiency. She was treated with intramuscular vitamin B12. Despite a good treatment adherence, the hemoglobin level decreased to 6 g/dL with the onset of leukopenia and severe lymphopenia. A bone narrow biopsy allowed the diagnosis of MDS which explained the extensive form of KS. She was then referred to the hematology department and received regular blood transfusions. Bleomycin, the only systemic therapy available for KS in our country, was contraindicated because of her pulmonary disease. Thus, the treatment was limited to cryotherapy each 15 days and support stocking with a slight improvement.
Figure 1: Multiple erythematous-violaceous nodules of the leg

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Figure 2: Histologic features: a (HE x2), b (HE x10): Dermal proliferation of spindles shaped cells with slit-like spaces filled with red blood cells

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Figure 3: Immunohistochemical detection of the HHV8 (HE × 10): Spindle cells are positive for the human herpesvirus type 8

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Figure 4: Violaceous plaque on the palate

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Figure 5: Erythematous-violaceous and skin-colored nodules on the upper left leg. Some of the nodules are multilobed

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Figure 6: Verrucous and hyperkeratotic aspect of the left feet

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KS occurring with a primary neoplasm is rare. It might be a solid tumor, cutaneous neoplasm, or hematologic malignancy.[2] In our case, KS revealed an MDS, a group of hematologic diseases consisting of dysplastic hematopoiesis that leads to peripheral cytopenia. KS either appears during the course of MDS or is the first symptom revealing MDS. This association was reported twice in the literature.[3],[4] It can be explained by the severe immunodepression secondary to MDS. In fact, patients with MDS have a high risk of severe infections. The most important factor is neutropenia. However, other immune defects such as lymphocyt B, T, and NK defects or abnormal neutrophil function were incriminated.[5] Our patient presented lymphopenia due to the MDS. Its association to her late age explains the immunodepression that led to an extensive form of KS. Indeed, HIV serology was negative. The classic form of KS was also unlikely as it had an extensive evolution with atypical distribution. Thus, hematologic malignancies such as MDS must be suspected in case of an extensive form of KS with complete blood count abnormalities.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

   References Top

Lebbe C, Garbe C, Stratigos AJ, Harwood C, Peris K, Marmol VD, et al. European Dermatology Forum (EDF), the European Association of Dermato-Oncology (EADO) and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC). Diagnosis and treatment of Kaposi's sarcoma: European consensus-based interdisciplinary guideline (EDF/EADO/EORTC). Eur J Cancer 2019;114:117-27.  Back to cited text no. 1
Iscovich J, Boffetta P, Winkelmann R, Brennan P. Classic Kaposi's sarcoma as a second primary neoplasm. Int J Cancer 1999;80:178-82.  Back to cited text no. 2
Tombuloğlu M, Keskin A, Töbü M, Cağirgan S, Büyükkeçeci F, Soydan S. Kaposi's sarcoma in the course of juvenile myelodysplastic syndrome. Acta Oncol 1995;34:263-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
Pamuk GE, Aydogdu E, Turgut B, Demir M. The simultaneous diagnosis of Kaposi sarcoma and MDS RAEB-II in a human immunodeficiency virus-negative patient. A rare occurrence. Ann Hematol 2009;88:389-91.  Back to cited text no. 4
Toma A, Fenaux P, Dreyfus F and Cordonnier C. Infections in myelodysplastic syndromes. Haematologica 2012;97:1459-70.  Back to cited text no. 5


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6]


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