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Immunotherapy boosts the body’s immune system to fight the cancer. This treatment is also called biological therapy.
The most common immunotherapy drug for Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is interferon alpha. This drug stops viruses from copying themselves. It also triggers the immune system to fight the virus.
You take an interferon by injection, either into a muscle or just under the skin, usually once a day. It is most effective if you have lesions just on your skin and your immune system is not too suppressed. Your doctor may not recommend this treatment if your CD4 cell count is less than 200 because it can be toxic for people with low CD4 counts. Highly active antiretroviral therapy that decreases HIV viral load and increases CD4 cell counts is an essential companion of immunotherapy for KS.
Interferon alpha can cause any of these side effects:
Flulike symptoms, such as tiredness, muscle aches, runny nose, or low-grade fever
Abnormal liver enzymes
Mood changes or depression
Low blood cell counts
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.