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What causes Kaposi sarcoma?

Kaposi sarcoma is caused by the Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus, or herpesvirus 8. This virus affects the cells on the inside of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels. When the virus infects these cells, it disrupts the genes that control cell growth and lead to an overgrowth of cells that forms a tumor. Not all people infected with herpesvirus 8 will get Kaposi sarcoma, but people with weakened immune systems-especially people with AIDS-are more likely to develop Kaposi sarcoma if they have herpesvirus 8.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.