Tonsillar Kaposi sarcoma in a renal transplant patient

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Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is a vascular neoplasm caused by human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8) infection. KS is most often seen in individuals with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome but can occur in patients who are on immunosuppressive therapy. While the skin and oral mucosa are the typical sites for KS, lesions of the tonsil are quite rare with only a few reported cases. Here, we present a case of tonsillar KS occurring in a renal transplant patient. He presented with dysphagia, odynophagia, and weight loss. Oral examination revealed tonsillar hypertrophy with purple discoloration. Imaging revealed diffuse enlargement of Waldeyer's ring with enlarged right cervical lymph nodes, worrisome for post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder. Microscopic examination of the tonsillectomy specimen showed a vascular proliferation positive for HHV-8, consistent with KS. The patient was subsequently treated with immunosuppression reduction and the addition of sirolimus, which resulted in complete resolution of oropharyngeal and cervical lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13347
JournalTransplant Infectious Disease
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Kaposi
  • kidney
  • sarcoma
  • tonsil
  • transplant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Transplantation


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