The primary purpose of this study is to determine whether a protease inhibitor-based antiretroviral regimen is more efficacious than a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-based antiretroviral regimen in promoting the regression of KS tumor burden in persons with AIDS-related KS in Africa.
With the advent of the HIV epidemic, Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is now the most common adult cancer in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. In HIV-infected patients with KS in developed settings, the initiation of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) has been associated with regression of the tumor, in many but not all cases, even in the absence of conventional chemotherapy. However, it is not known which specific antiretroviral drugs or regimens are critical to convey HAART's anti-KS effect. In particular, it is not known whether the anti-KS effects of protease inhibitors (PI) in vitro and in animal models translate into improved clinical outcomes as compared to non-PI-based HAART regimens. To address this, we will determine whether a PI-based HAART regimen (lopinavir/ritonavir plus emtricitabine/tenofovir) is superior to a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-based HAART regimen (efavirenz plus emtricitabine/tenofovir) in promoting the regression of KS tumor burden in persons with AIDS-related KS in sub-Saharan Africa. We will enroll 224 patients with AIDS-related KS in Kampala, Uganda, randomly assign them to either a PI-based HAART or an NNRTI-based HAART regimen, and observe them for one year to determine the response in their KS to therapy.