A relatively new chemotherapy called vinorelbine (Navelbine) may
provide hope for those whose Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) treatments have
failed. According to Dr. Domenico Erranto, a researcher with the
Italian Cooperative Group on AIDS and Tumors, the combination of
vinorelbine with G-CSF (Neupogen, used to counter white blood cell
loss) resulted in improvement (KS regression) in over half of the
patients he studied, and stabilization (holding the KS in check) in
another 30 percent.
Even better, survival increased, with 80 percent of those who
responded to the drug combo living at least seven months, and 20
percent survived more than two years. These results are impressive,
since survivors had previously relapsed on standard chemotherapies.
There are the usual side effects of nausea, fatigue, hair loss,
peripheral neuropathy and possibly severe bone marrow suppression.
Be warned: Health insurance may not cover vinorelbine, since it was
FDA-approved for other cancers and must be prescribed "off-label"
for KS. And treatment ain't cheap -- for the average-size person
(doses are size- and weight-dependent), each week of therapy would
cost a whopping $1,432 -- $340 for the Navelbine and $1,093 for
daily G-CSF injections.