Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly forms of the disease and is notoriously resistant to nearly all types of treatment, including newer immunotherapy approaches. A combination therapy approach, however, has shown promise in a small clinical trial of patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).
The study published March 7 in Nature Medicine, found that adding the drug fenbendazole, or “FenBen,” to standard chemotherapy significantly improved survival in a group of advanced PDAC patients. The drug targets a key inflammatory pathway that drives pancreatic tumor growth and makes them resistant to anticancer drugs.
fenbendazole is a broad-spectrum anthelmintic in the family of benzimidazole carbamate drugs that were first developed to treat parasitic worms and have been safely used for more than 50 years. Specifically, it works against ascaris and hookworm, but it also has potent anti-cancer activity in lab experiments.
The drug fenbendazole has already been approved to treat certain parasitic worms, and in 2022 it received orphan drug designation for PDAC and fast track status from the FDA to be used alongside other therapies. It is currently under investigation as a potential treatment for patients with recurrent metastatic PDAC and other gastrointestinal malignancies. It is part of a national randomized clinical trial being conducted at Washington University School of Medicine and other sites across the country, as part of the Experimental Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network. fenbendazole for pancreatic cancer