Am J Clin Oncol 1999 Jun;22(3):286-90
Department of Radiation Oncology, Kimmel Cancer Center, Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA.
Limited information is available in the medical literature on epidemic Kaposi sarcoma (EKS) of the foot. Patients with EKS of the foot can experience severe discomfort that makes it difficult to ambulate and even wear shoes. Between 1985 and 1996, 36 patients with EKS of the foot were treated with palliative intent. Most patients were referred for radiation therapy because of foot discomfort or marked difficulty with ambulation. From the pool of 36 patients, data were available at completion of treatment for 46 sites, and at 1 month for 44 sites. Morbidity was assessed for 35 sites. The median follow-up time for the 44 sites with at least 1 month follow-up was 8 months. The most frequently used regimen was a novel fractionation schedule of three fractions a week at 3.5 Gy/fx to a total dose of 21.0 Gy. The overall response rate and complete response rate for the 44 sites with at least 1 month follow-up were 91% and 80%, respectively. The 46 treated sites evaluated at the completion of treatment had a complete response rate of only 13% and an overall response rate of 63%. Of the 35 sites assessed for acute toxicity, 63% experienced discomfort related to the radiation therapy. This discomfort usually resolved without intervention within 2 weeks of completion of radiation therapy. For patients with and without a history of opportunistic infections, complete responses were observed in 8 of 12 sites (67%) and 25 of 27 sites (93%), respectively (p = 0.06). Radiation therapy for EKS of the foot yields excellent response rates, comparable with responses seen in other cutaneous sites with EKS. Appropriate patient education and support are needed because initial responses to radiation therapy are often disappointing and pedal discomfort can be exacerbated transiently. However, the discomfort resolves and complete response occurs in most patients. The 3.5-Gy triweekly fractionation schedule is a convenient and effective regimen and minimizes treatment visits for patients with ambulatory discomfort. A history of opportunistic infections appears to be a poor prognosticator of response to radiation treatments.