Section : History & Terminology

Kaposi’s sarcoma: remembering the condition existed before HIV

  • Moriz Kaposi (1837-1902) was a Hungarian dermatologist practicing in Vienna, at the time the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
  • He described Idiopathic Multiple Pigment Sarcoma of the skin in 1878 – now widely called Kaposi’s sarcoma.
  • Since then it is not fully idiopathic anymore and is due to reactivation of the Human Herpesvirus type 8: HHV8
  • Such reactivations can be found in late stages of HIV infections (HHV8), but it needs to be emphasized that such reactivation can occur in non-HIV infections (classical form, endemic form as well as other causes of immunosuppression)
  • Moriz Kaposi was a great teacher attracting students from all over the world, giving impressing lectures and a perfectly fluent way, with no hesitation – not forgetting to add “mustard” in the sandwiches with touches of humor.
  • He also described systemic lupus erythematosus, xeroderma pigmentosum and authored a great clinico pathological book called “Pathologie und Therapie der Hautkrankheiten in Vorlesungen”.

Source of information: Crissey JT el al. Dermatology and Dermatologists (2002). Parthenon Publishing