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The KAART Trial: a randomized controlled trial of HAART compared to the combination of HAART and \chemotherapy in treatment-naïve patients with HIV-associated Kaposi sarcoma (HIV-KS) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa


KS is the most common cancer in people with HIV/AIDS, affecting both men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Without HAART, mortality is high. Given poor access to HAART and prevalent HIV and KS-associated herpesvirus co-infection, advanced HIV-KS is an increasing problem in KZN. This is the first prospective study evaluating the impact of HAART and the role of early chemotherapy in HIV-KS in Africa.


We performed a randomized, controlled, open-label trial comparing HAART to the combination of HAART and chemotherapy (CXT) in treatment-naive patients with biopsy-confirmed HIV-KS, recruited from the dermatology clinic at King Edward VIII Hospital, KZN, South Africa. Patients were stratified by ACTG risk group. HAART was stavudine, lamivudine, and nevirapine. CXT consisted of HAART plus bleomycin (10 U/m2), doxorubicin (20 mg/m3), and vincristine (1.4 mg/m2). Responses were evaluated by ACTG criteria. We performed an intention-to-treat comparison between arms of KS clinical responses at month 12 (Fisher exact test), rate of response (Mantel-Haenszel rate ratio), and overall survival (log-rank test). ACTG prognostic criteria were evaluated (Cox proportional hazard regression). Toxicity was monitored using DAIDS criteria. Adherence was assessed by a 7-day recall questionnaire. Toxicities, adherence, and changes in CD4 and HIV-1 viral load were compared between arms (Fisher exact test).


Baseline characteristic: 310 patients were screened, with 112 (62 women, 50 men) randomized; 59 to HAART and 53 to CXT arm. Mean age 34 (20-63 yrs). 89% had advanced disease (T1 disease), 93% poor risk by ACTG criteria, 58% with CD4 <200, 42% had a history of co-morbid infection; commonly tuberculosis (34%). Responses: The overall response rate (complete responses plus partial responses) at month 12 was 39% in the HAART arm and 66% in the CXT arm (p=0.005). The CXT arm had a 2.7 times faster response rate (p<0.001). Overall survival at 12 months was 76%, with no significant differences between arms (p=0.49). ACTG TIS staging was validated (p=0.03), with systemic illness the most significant prognosticator of overall survival. There were no significant differences in CD4 improvement, HIV viral load decay, adverse events, or adherence between arms.


HAART dramatically improves overall survival in African patients with HIV-KS compared to historic controls. Addition of chemotherapy improves response rates in patients with advanced (T1) HIV-KS.


This article has been published as part of Infectious Agents and Cancer Volume 5 Supplement 1, 2010: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Malignancies in AIDS and Other Acquired Immunodeficiencies (ICMAOI).The full contents of the supplement are available online at

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Correspondence to A Mosam.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Mosam, A., Shaik, F., Uldrick, T. et al. The KAART Trial: a randomized controlled trial of HAART compared to the combination of HAART and \chemotherapy in treatment-naïve patients with HIV-associated Kaposi sarcoma (HIV-KS) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa. Infect Agents Cancer 5 (Suppl 1), A80 (2010).

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