Fenbendazole is a widely used antiparasitic drug which is effective against pinworms, giardia, roundworms, hookworms and Taenia solium. The drug has also been shown to have anticancer effects, and it is able to reduce tumour cell proliferation, induce cancer cell apoptosis, inhibit chemotherapeutic agent uptake by tumour cells, and block cellular microtubule formation.
In a recent study, researchers treated non-small-cell lung cancer cells with fenbendazole, and found that it partially altered the microtubule network around the cancer cell nucleus. This led to an increase in cell death, and the team was able to confirm this using immunofluorescence, showing that the drug affected the structure of microtubules around the nucleus.
The team then tested fenbendazole on mice, and found that it was able to stop the growth of tumours, both when taken alone or combined with radiation. The mice were injected with a tumor, and then either given three daily doses of fenbendazole or a control drug every other day, or both drugs and radiation. When the tumour reached 1000 mm3, it was excised, measured and weighed, and the results showed that the mice treated with fenbendazole had smaller tumors than those in the control group.
The study was funded by the Virginia and David K. Ludwig Fund for Cancer Research. In a separate paper, the same team of researchers report that fenbendazole can destroy ovarian cancer cells in culture, and it can prevent tumours from growing in animal models when combined with low-dose chemotherapy. They find that fenbendazole kills cancer cells by blocking their ability to make protein tubulin, which is part of the cell’s skeleton and a highway for transport, and this allows other proteins to collapse them, starving the cancer cell into death. fenbendazole cancer