Irinotecan hydrochloride (Campto)

Irinotecan hydrochloride (Campto) is an anti-cancer drug that is mainly used to treat bowel cancer, usually in combination with other anti-cancer drugs. It works by inhibiting the enzyme topoisomerase 1. Irinotecan is given by infusion into a vein.

A recent study has shown that irinotecan can also be used to treat Kaposi’s sarcoma in patients with advanced HIV disease who are taking antiretroviral therapy. Although Kaposi’s sarcoma is usually prevented by antiretroviral therapy, a few cases of relapse do occur in patients taking anti-HIV drugs. In this study, nine of eleven patients with relapsing Kaposi’s sarcoma showed a partial remission over eleven months of follow-up.1 Larger studies are planned.

Irinotecan can cause severe diarrhoea, which can cause dehydration, as well as blood disorders such as low levels of white blood cells called leukocytes, anaemia and low platelet levels. The diarrhoea can be managed using anti-diarrhoea tablets.


  1. Vaccher E et al. Evidence of activity of irinotecan in patients with advanced AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma. AIDS 19: 1915-1916, 2005

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.