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January 1993

Caution in the Use of Local Therapies for Kaposi's Sarcoma

Author Affiliations

Department of Dermatology University of California San Francisco General Hospital Room 4M70 1001 Potrero Ave San Francisco, CA 94110

Arch Dermatol. 1993;129(1):42. doi:10.1001/archderm.1993.01680220054009

To the Editor.—  We enjoyed the two case reports by Serfling et al1 in the October 1991 issue of the Archives describing the use of liquid nitrogen cryotherapy and intralesional vinblastine chemotherapy for cutaneous lesions of acquired immunodeficiency virus-associated Kaposi's sarcoma (AIDS-KS). We have recently completed efficacy trials on the use of these two treatment modalities,2,3 and we feel that clinicians should be aware of additional safety precautions and potential side effects that should be conveyed to their patients before initiating therapy.Liquid nitrogen cryotherapy may safely be administered using a hand-held spray delivery system to prevent the possibility of storing and recovering virus particles, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the storage thermos.4 In addition, blister formation followed by crusting is the characteristic response of skin receiving the long freeze-thaw cycles (ranging from 20 to 60 seconds), which are generally required for acceptable cosmetic results.2

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