Kaposi sarcoma, a common opportunistic neoplasm complicating AIDS, is thought to arise from the vasculature and possibly from lymphatic endothelium. To evaluate the nature and extent of lymphatic involvement in AIDS-associated Kaposi sarcoma, we used an improved technique of whole-body lymphangioscintigraphy. Six human-immunodeficiency-virus-seropositive men (40-51 years old) with AIDS and extensive Kaposi sarcoma had bilateral foot and/or hand intradermal injection of 0.05 ml of 99mTc-labeled human serum albumin (500 μCi, 18.5 MBq). After sequential whole-body scanning with a digital gamma camera, the findings were interpreted by comparing them with findings from similar studies in 30 other patients without AIDS or Kaposi sarcoma (26 with primary or secondary lymphedema and four with normal extremities). Unlike in normal limbs, where lymphangioscintigraphy displayed early lymphatic truncal and regional nodal filling with radionuclide, in patients with Kaposi sarcoma, lymphangioscintigraphy disclosed a variety of abnormal patterns with some features distinct and others resembling lymphatic dysplasia as seen in primary and secondary lymphedema. These included focal accumulation of tracer within lymphatic channels in the distribution of cutaneous Kaposi lesions; delayed tracer transport with absent, faint, or intense regional lymph nodal uptake; and retarded or impeded lymphatic drainage with tracer intensification in the region of Kaposi sarcoma plaques. The impaired lymphatic drainage and nodal dysfunction seen on scintigrams in patients with AIDS-associated Kaposi sarcoma suggest a close connection between the lymphatic system and this disorder.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging