Activity of thalidomide in AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma

Richard F. Little, Kathleen M. Wyvill, James M. Pluda, Lauri Welles, Vickie Marshall, William D. Figg, Fonda M. Newcomb, Giovanna Tosato, Ellen Feigal, Seth M. Steinberg, Denise Whitby, James J. Goedert, Robert Yarchoan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

283 Scopus citations


Purpose: To assess the toxicity and activity of oral thalidomide in Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) in a phase II dose-escalation study. Patients and Methods: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-seropositive patients with biopsy-confirmed KS that progressed over the 2 months before enrollment received an initial dose of 200 mg/d of oral thalidomide in a phase II study. The dose was increased to a maximum of 1,000 mg/d for up to 1 year. Anti-HIV therapy was maintained during the study period. Toxicity, tumor response, immunologic and angiogenic factors, and virologic parameters were assessed. Results: Twenty patients aged 29 to 49 years with a median CD4 count of 246 cells/mm3 (range, 14 to 646 cells/mm3) were enrolled. All patients were assessable for toxicity, and 17 for response. Drowsiness in nine and depression in seven patients were the most frequent toxicities observed. Eight (47%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 23% to 72%) of the 17 assessable patients achieved a partial response, and an additional two patients had stable disease. Based on all 20 patients treated, the response rate was 40% (95% CI, 19% to 64%). The median thalidomide dose at the time of response was 500 mg/d (range, 400 to 1,000 mg/d). The median duration of drug treatment was 6.3 months, and the median time to progression was 7.3 months. Conclusion: Oral thalidomide was tolerated in this population at doses up to 1,000 mg/d for as long as 12 months and was found to induce clinically meaningful anti-KS responses in a sizable subset of the patients. Additional studies of this agent in KS are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2593-2602
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2000
Externally publishedYes


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