To evaluate the efficacy and safety of topical alitretinoin gel (9-cis-retinoic acid [LGD1057], Panretin gel; Ligand Pharmaceuticals, Inc, San Diego, Calif) in cutaneous Kaposi sarcoma (KS).
Open-label, within-patient, controlled, dose-escalating phase 1 and 2 clinical trials. In all patients, 1 or more cutaneous KS lesions were treated with alitretinoin gel, and at least 2 other lesions served as untreated controls for up to 16 weeks. Alitretinoin (0.05% or 0.1% gel) was applied twice daily for the first 2 weeks and up to 4 times daily thereafter, if tolerated.
Nine academic clinical centers.
One hundred fifteen patients with biopsy-proven acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)–related KS.
Main Outcome Measures
AIDS Clinical Trials Group response criteria.
Statistically significant clinical responses were observed in 31 (27%) of 115 patients for the group of treated index lesions compared with 13 (11%) for the group of untreated control lesions (P<.001). Responses occurred with low CD4+ lymphocyte counts (<200 cells/µL) and in some patients with refractory response to previous systemic anti-KS therapy. The incidence of disease progression was significantly lower for treated index lesions compared with untreated control lesions (39/115 [34%] vs 53/115 [46%]; P = .02). Alitretinoin gel generally was well tolerated, with 90% of treatment-related adverse events confined to the application site and only mild or moderate in severity.
Alitretinoin gel has significant antitumor activity as a topical treatment for AIDS-related KS lesions, substantially reduces the incidence of disease progression in treated lesions, and is generally well tolerated.