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Add-on valganciclovir yields survival gains in glioblastoma

22 Aug 2020

Use of the antiviral drug valganciclovir as an adjunct to standard therapy in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma appears to prolong survival, even in the presence of an unmethylated MGMT promoter gene and regardless of when given after surgery, according to the results of an experimental study.

The study included 102 patients (median age, 59 years; 71 percent male) who were given valganciclovir as add-on to standard therapy and 231 controls (median age, 63 years; 62.8 percent male) who did not receive the add-on. Most of the patients received long-term treatment with the antiviral drug (median, 15.6 months), with only 16 patients receiving 6 months of therapy or less.

Valganciclovir treatment was discontinued due to haematological toxicity in six patients, skin rash in two, myocardial ischaemia in one (not related to treatment), infection in three, and diarrhoea in one. No additional toxicity was observed.

Compared with controls, patients who received the antiviral drug had significantly better overall survival (median, 24.1 vs 13.3 months; p<0.0001), higher 2-year survival rate (49.8 percent vs 17.3 percent), and longer time-to-tumour progression (median, 9.9 vs 7.3 months; p=0.0003).

The survival benefits conferred by valganciclovir were observed in patients with radical or partial resection and those with an unmethylated or methylated MGMT promoter gene.

The findings are expected to prompt further investigation into the role of cytomegalovirus in the pathogenesis of glioblastoma.

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Most Read Articles
13 Sep 2020
Regardless of birth weight, being obese at preschool age is associated with a greater risk of elevated blood pressure during early childhood, a recent China study has found. A longer duration of breastfeeding appears to help mitigate such a risk.
Jairia Dela Cruz, 3 days ago
In patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) receiving angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, high dosing confers benefits for the risk of death or hospitalization that are similar to that obtained with lower dosing, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis.
06 Sep 2020
Type 2 diabetes mellitus patients taking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are at a higher risk of sustaining hip fractures, a recent study has found.
5 days ago
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common condition affecting the joints. Dr Lee Eu Jin, an Orthopaedic Surgeon from Liberty Orthopaedic Clinic at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, Singapore, shares his insights with Pearl Toh on how to manage OA in the primary care setting.