Fenben powder is a broad spectrum anthelmintic that is used in humans and animals to treat intestinal parasites. It also has anti-cancer properties and this is one reason it’s being repurposed for use as an immunotherapy in cancer patients. This is the kind of drug repurposing that is helping to expand the scope of our medical arsenal for fighting this disease.
FenBen is in a class of medications called the benzimidazole carbamate anthelmintics (I’ve coined this family of drugs the “Benz”), and they have been used for roughly six decades as broad-spectrum anthelmintics. It’s effective against the four major types of intestinal parasites in dogs – roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and taenia tapeworms. It’s easy to feed and works well as a deworming agent, especially for puppies.
The article’s authors investigated if higher concentrations of fenbendazole would be more cytotoxic to EMT6 tumor cells. High doses of the drug induced apoptosis, as shown by the decrease in cell viability. In addition, the researchers found that fenbendazole reduced EMT6 clonogenicity after a 24-h incubation.
Veterinary practices typically dispense fenbendazole in powder form for small cats and kittens or in a liquid oral suspension that is only available with a prescription. A compounded version of the medication is sometimes recommended if there’s a specific reason that your pet can’t take an FDA-approved drug, such as trouble swallowing pills or having allergies to ingredients in commercially available medications.
This product is a sterile, white to off-white, odorless, and tasteless powder that’s very easy to mix into food. It’s a highly potent chemotherapeutic drug that can be administered orally or intravenously.