Department of Medical Physics, Royal Perth Hospital, Western Australia, 6001,
Valendar F Turner, John Papadimitriou, Barry Page, David Causer, Helman Alfonso, Sam Mhlongo, Todd Miller, Christian Fiala
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"HIV" and KS
In their 27th July rapid responses on KS, Nicholas Bennett (Answers to Pennee Atkinson, and Peter Flegg (Re: Re: KS risk) claim that "The causal link with HIV-induced immunodeficiency is clear…"; "The very simple reason why you can show it is HIV and not the drugs in AIDS patients is that (and read this well, because it completely destroys the AIDS dissident arguments) putting AIDS patients on antiviral therapies cures their KS".
Even if there was proof that HAART "cures" KS, this is not proof that HIV either directly or indirectly is causally linked to KS. "Cure" of KS could be the result of the cytotoxicity of HAART and have nothing whatsoever to do with an "anti-HIV" effect.
Radiation "cures" KS. Yet radiation does not have an "anti-HIV" effect, and is both carcinogenic and immunosuppressive.
Neither is the drop in the number of KS cases since the introduction of HAART (1996-97). The incidence of KS declined sharply before the introduction of HAART or any other antiretroviral.1 2
Peter Flegg wrote: "Essentially, KS may occur following immunosupppression, be it drug-induced for the purposes of renal (or other) transplants, or HIV-induced….It has been demonstrated that immunosuppression from renal transplantation can cause persistent HHV-8 reactivation….The causal link with HIV-induced immunodeficiency is clear…."
The link between immunosuppression and KS in organ transplant recipients was discounted as far back as 1982.3 If a causal link between "HIV" induced immune deficiency and KS existed, then the disease should be present in all AIDS risk groups. Furthermore, if about "-30% of gay men and black Africans" are infected with HHV-8, as Peter Flegg claims, then at least, in these two groups the incidence of KS should be the same. This is not the case. "AIDS" KS began and still remains confined to the gay men.
Nicholas Bennett's and Peter Flegg's view is not shared by some of the best known "HIV" experts including Robert Gallo. "There's a common belief that it is immune suppression that is involved. Our data would argue the opposite – that it is immune stimulation".4
As far back as 1983 Jay Levy wrote: "We propose that this syndrome is an opportunistic infection. The AIDS agent causes disease only in those individuals who are already immunocompromised. Homosexual men, intravenous drug abusers, haemophiliacs, and newborn children (particularly with incompatible blood groups) all have one characteristic in common – they may be chronically immunosuppressed by antigen overload, multiple infections, drugs, or, in the case of infants, immunonaive…Another question surrounding the AIDS "epidemic" is why Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), a rare disease in the Western world, is the primary malignant lesion observed…However, if immunosurveillance is involved in this biological event, why are not other common cancers such as those of the lung, colon, and breast, and leukaemias also observed?…We propose that KS developing in AIDS patients results from the enhanced secretion of immunomodulating factors with angiogenesis-promoting activity by cells attempting to correct or compensate for the immune disorder." 5
In 1988 researchers from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research disallowed KS from the definition of AIDS stating "In our system the presence of opportunistic infection is a criterion for the diagnosis of AIDS, but the presence of Kaposi's sarcoma is omitted because the cancer is not caused by immune-suppression". 6
1. Papadopulos-Eleopulos E, Turner VF, Papadimitriou JM. Kaposi's sarcoma and HIV. Med Hypotheses 1992;39:22-9.
2. Beral V, Peterman TA, Berkelman RL, Jaffe HW. Kaposi's sarcoma among persons with AIDS: a sexually transmitted infection? Lancet 1990;335:123-8.
3. Kinlen LJ. Immunosuppressive Therapy and Cancer. Cancer Surv 1982;1:565-581.
4. Lauritsen JL. NIDA meeting calls for research into the poppers-Kaposi's sarcoma connection. In: Duesberg PH, editor. AIDS: Virus- or Drug Induced. London: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1995:325-330.
5. Levy JA, Ziegler JL, Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is an opportunistic infection and Kaposi's Sarcoma results from secondary immune stimulation. Lancet 1983; 78-81
6. Redfield RR, Burke DS. HIV Infection: The clinical Picture. Scientific American 1988;259:70-78.
Competing interests: None declared