Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Oral BVDU treatment of varicella and zoster in children with cancer


In the period June 1980–April 1983, 21 children with malignant discase were admitted because of an intercurrent varicella or zoster infection. They were treated with the new antiviral drug BVDU [(E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2′-deoxyuridine]. The drug was administered orally at a dose of 15 mg/kg per day for 5 days. All our patients responded promptly to BVDU treatment and recovered completely from their varicella or zoster infections without complications. No toxic side-effects due to the drug were observed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.





herpes simplex virus type 1


varicella-zoster virus


glutamic-pyruvic transaminase


glutamicoxaloacetic transaminase


  1. 1.

    Allaudeen HS, Kozarich JW, Bertino JR, De Clercq E (1981) On the mechanism of selective inhibition of herpesvirus replication by (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2′-deoxyuridine. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 78:2698–2702

  2. 2.

    Allaudeen HS, Chen MS, Lee JJ, De Clercq E, Prusoff WH (1982) Incorporation of E-5-(2-halovinyl)-2′-deoxyuridines into deoxyribonucleic acids of herpes simplex virus type 1-infected cells. J Biol Chem 257:603–606

  3. 3.

    Balfour HH Jr (1984) Intravenous acyclovir therapy for varicella in immunocompromised children. J Pediatr 104:134–136

  4. 4.

    Balfour HH Jr, Bean B, Laskin OL, Ambinder RF, Meyers JD, Wade JC, Zaia JA, Aeppli D, Kirk LE, Segreti AC, Keeney RE, The Burroughs Wellcome Collaborative Acyclovir Study Group (1983) Acyclovir halts progression of herpes zoster in immunocompromised patients. New Engl J Med 308:1448–1453

  5. 5.

    Balfour HH Jr, McMonigal KA, Bean B (1983) Acyclovir therapy of varicella-zoster virus infections in immunocompromised patients. J Antimicrob Chemother 12 [Suppl B]:169–179

  6. 6.

    Bean B, Braun C, Balfour HH Jr (1982) Acyclovir therapy for acute herpes zoster. Lancet II:118–121

  7. 7.

    Cheng Y-C, Dutschman G, De Clercq E, Jones AS, Rahim SG, Verhelst G, Walker RT (1981) Differential affinities of 5-(2-halogenovinyl)-2′-deoxyuridines for deoxythymidine kinases of various origins. Mol Pharmacol 20:230–233

  8. 8.

    De Clercq F (1984) BVDU [(E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2′-deoxyuridine]. In: Becker Y (ed) Antiviral drugs and interferon: the molecular basis of their activity. Martinus Nijhoff Publishing, Boston, pp 89–104

  9. 9.

    De Clercq E, Descamps J, De Somer P, Barr PJ, Jones AS, Walker RT (1979) Pharmacokinetics of E-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2′-deoxyuridine in mice. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 16:234–236

  10. 10.

    De Clercq E, Degreef H, Wildiers J, De Jonge G, Drochmans A, Descamps J, De Somer P (1980) Oral (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2′-deoxyuridine in severe herpes zoster. Br Med J 281–1178

  11. 11.

    De Clercq E, Descamps J, De Somer P, Barr PJ, Jones AS, Walker RT (1979) (E)-5-(2-Bromovinyl)-2′-deoxyuridine: a potent and selective antiherpes agent. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 76:2947–2951

  12. 12.

    De Clercq E, Descamps J, Verhelst G, Walker RT, Jones AS, Torrence PF, Shugar D (1980) Comparative efficacy of antiherpes drugs against different strains of herpes simplex virus. J Infect Dis 141:563–574

  13. 13.

    Dolin R, Reichman RC, Mazur MH, Whitley RJ (1981) Herpes zoster varicella infections in immunosuppressed patients. Ann Intern Med 95:549–555

  14. 14.

    Feldman S, Hughes WT, Kim HY (1973) Herpes zoster in children with cancer. Am J Dis Child 126:178–184

  15. 15.

    Feldman S, Hughes WT, Daniel CB (1975) Varicella in children with cancer. Seventy seven cases. Pediatrics 56:388–397

  16. 16.

    Gould JM, Chessells JM, Marshall WC, McKendrick GDW (1982) Acyclovir in herpesvirus infections in children: experience in an open study with particular reference to safety. J Infect 5: 283–289

  17. 17.

    Hirsch MS, Schooley RT (1983) Treatment of herpesvirus infections. New Engl J Med 309:963–970; 309:1034–1039

  18. 18.

    Mancini WR, De Clercq E, Prusoff WH (1983) The relationship between incorporation of E-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2′-deoxyuridine into herpes simplex virus type 1 DNA with virus infectivity and DNA integrity. J Biol Chem 258:792–795

  19. 19.

    Maudgal PC, Dralands L, Lamberts L, De Clercq E, Descamps J, Missotten L (1981) Preliminary results of oral BVDU treatment of herpes zoster ophthalmicus. Bull Soc Belge Ophtalmol 193:49–56

  20. 20.

    Maudgal PC, De Clercq E, Missotten L (1984) Efficacy of bromovinyldeoxyuridine in the treatment of herpes simplex virus and varicella-zoster virus eye infections. Antiviral Res 4:281–291

  21. 21.

    Maudgal PC, Missotten L, De Clercq E, Descamps J, De Meuter E (1981) Efficacy of (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2′-deoxyuridine in the topical treatment of herpes simplex keratitis. Albrecht von Graefes Arch Klin Ophthalmol 216:261–268

  22. 22.

    Peterslund NA, Sever-Hansen K, Ipsen J, Esmann V, Schonheyder H, Juhl H (1981) Acyclovir in herpes zoster. Lancet II:827–830

  23. 23.

    Peyramond D, Demoyel GA, Philip T, Souillet G, Philippe N, Bertrand JL, Bertoye A (1983) Varicella-zoster virus infections in immunosuppressed children. Acyclovir therapy and controls. Arch Fr Pediatr 40:95–99

  24. 24.

    Prober CG, Kirk LE, Keeney RE (1982) Acyclovir therapy of chickenpox in immunosuppressed children—a collaborative study. J Pediatr 101:622–625

  25. 25.

    Selby PJ, Powles RL, Jameson B, Kay HEM, Watson JG, Thornton R, Morgenstern G, Clink HM, McElwain TJ, Prentice HG, Corringham R, Ross MG, Hoffbrand AV, Brigden D (1979) Parenteral acyclovir therapy for herpesivirus infections in man. Lancet II:1267–1270

  26. 26.

    Shigeta S, Yokota T, Iwabuchi T, Baba M, Konno K, Ogata M, De Clercq E (1983) Comparative efficacy of antiherpes drugs against various strains of varicella-zoster virus. J Infect Dis 147:576–584

  27. 27.

    Soike KF, Felsenfeld AD, Gerone PJ (1981) Acyclovir treatment of experimental simian varicella infection of monkeys. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 20:291–297

  28. 28.

    Soike KF, Gibson S, Gerone PJ (1981) Inhibition of simian varicella virus infection of African green monkeys by (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2′-deoxyuridine (BVDU). Antiviral Res 1:325–337

  29. 29.

    Van Well-Sipman MH, van der Meer JWM, de Koning J, Versteeg J (1981) Severe atypical recurrent varicella in childhood leukaemia. Lancet I:147–148

  30. 30.

    Whitley RJ, Ch'ien LT, Dolin R, Galasso GJ, Alford CA Jr, Collaborative Study Group (1976) Adenine arabinoside therapy of herpes zoster in the immunosuppressed. NIAID collaborative antiviral study. New Engl J Med 294:1193–1199

  31. 31.

    Whitley R, Hilty M, Haynes R, Bryson Y, Connor JD, Soong S-J, Alford CA, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Collaborative Antiviral Study Group (1982) Vidarabine therapy of varicella in immunosuppressed patients. J Pediatr 101:125–131

  32. 32.

    Whitley RJ, Soong S-J, Dolin R, Betts R, Linneman C Jr, Alford CA Jr, NIAID Collaborative Antiviral Study Group (1982) Early vidarabine therapy to control the complications of herpes zoster in immunosuppressed patients. New Engl J Med 307:971–975

  33. 33.

    Wildiers J, De Clercq E (1984) Oral (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2′-deoxyuridine treatment of severe herpes zoster in cancer patients. Eur J Cancer Clin Oncol 20:471–476

  34. 34.

    Wingard JR, Hess AD, Stuart RK, Saral R, Burns WH (1983) Effect of several antiviral agents on human lymphocyte functions and marrow progenitor cell proliferation. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 23:593–597

  35. 35.

    Wittek AE, Cohen PS, Arvin AM, Smith SD, Koropchak CM, De Clercq E (1983) Effect of (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2′-deoxyuridine on proliferation of human fibroblasts, peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and granulocyte-monocyte progenitor cells in vitro. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 24:803–806

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to E. De Clercq.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Benoit, Y., Laureys, G., Delbeke, M.-. et al. Oral BVDU treatment of varicella and zoster in children with cancer. Eur J Pediatr 143, 198–202 (1985).

Download citation

Key words

  • BVDU (bromovinyldeoxyuridine)
  • Varicella
  • Zoster
  • Cancer