An anti-herpes drug was found to significantly extend the lives of people with a deadly form of brain cancer called glioblastoma, according to a report published in the September 5 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
Results of an experimental study showed that by adding an anti-herpes drug to the standard-of-care treatment for glioblastoma, the 2-year survival rate was increased from 18% to 90%.
CMV and its relationship to cancer is gaining attention.
According to the Center for Molecular Medicine, the group involved with study, its researchers confirmed the "presence of an active CMV infection in 99% of malignant glioblastoma tumors." They also found CMV in 90% of other types of brain cancer.
The group suggests that CMV also appears to be present in breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer and ovarian cancer.
While the study drug used to fight CMV was valganciclovir (brand name Valcyte), many other anti-herpes drugs are commonly used to treat or prevent CMV:
It is not yet known whether CMV is the cause of some cancers or just accelerates the growth of some cancers. However, the researchers highlighted the need for more research of CMV in people with cancer.