The anthelmintic drug fenbendazole, commonly referred to as dog wormer, is widely used in both humans and animals for the treatment of parasitic infections. Some research suggests that it may be able to suppress cancer in cell cultures and animal models, but there isn’t enough evidence from randomized clinical trials to show whether it would be a useful cancer therapy in people.
The study, published in the journal Oncotarget on July 6, was prompted by a Facebook post that claimed a woman with terminal pancreatic cancer experienced tumor shrinkage after self-administering fenbendazole. The post also claimed the drug killed cancer cells “unlike your other NHS shit that just make the cells lay dormant/sleep until they are ready to wake back up”.
Stanford professor Robert Glenn and his colleagues have been studying how to use compounds similar to fenbendazole to treat viruses and some types of cancer. Their research suggests that these drugs disrupt the normal processes that cancers and viruses rely on to grow and spread. Their work has led to the development of a new class of anti-cancer agents that may be effective against multiple types of cancers.
Using a fenbendazole-based compound in mice that are genetically engineered to develop pancreatic cancer, they found that the drug acted in synergy with other chemotherapy agents. It reduced the growth of primary and metastatic cancers in the animals and inhibited their ability to spread. Interestingly, the team also found that fenbendazole didn’t have any negative effects on the animals’ normal cells.
For their latest study, the researchers investigated whether fenbendazole can induce autophagy in human colorectal cancer cells that are resistant to conventional chemotherapy. They analyzed the viability of wild-type and 5-fluorouracil-resistant SNU-C5 colon cancer cells by flow cytometry, and they also performed Western blots to check for changes in Beclin-1 and LC3 expression, which are associated with autophagy.
In the study, the researchers found that fenbendazole reduced glucose uptake by the cells, and this in turn led to apoptosis and G2/M arrest. The apoptosis was caused by an increase in caspase-8-dependent mitochondrial death, and it was further enhanced by ferroptosis through decreased GPX4 expression.
The research suggests that fenbendazole may be able to overcome resistance to chemotherapies by triggering both the apoptotic and autophagic pathways, and this effect is increased when fenbendazole is combined with other chemotherapy agents. However, it is important to note that a specialist cancer information nurse at Cancer Research UK told Full Fact that there is insufficient evidence that fenbendazole can cure cancer or is safe for human use. This is because cancer researchers can’t know if something will work or not until they do proper randomized trials in patients. As such, it’s vital that anyone with suspected cancer seek medical advice from their doctors before taking any dietary supplements or other unproven treatments. It could cause a serious reaction. fenbendazole for cancer