Fenbendazole (FEN) is a well-known parasitic anthelmintic drug used to treat various human and animal helminths, including Ascaris, hookworm and trichuris. It is also known to be active against some protozoa, fungi and viruses, and has been approved for use by the FDA in the United States since 1976.
In addition to its antiparasitic effects, fenbendazole has been found to inhibit cancer cell growth in laboratory experiments (in vitro). A 2018 study published in Scientific Reports demonstrated that fenbendazole could suppress the proliferation of human non-small-cell lung cancer cells through the partial alteration of microtubule dynamics and activation of p53 tumour-suppressor genes, among other mechanisms.
The authors of the article also observed that FZ interfered with glucose uptake in cancer cells by blocking GLUT transporters and inhibiting glycolysis. This is likely an important mechanism by which fenbendazole can promote cancer cell death, because malignant cells are known to consume several times more glucose than normal cells.
A similar study in mice was conducted in which a single dose of fenbendazole significantly reduced the size and number of tumours compared to a control group. The authors concluded that fenbendazole might be useful in the treatment of human cancers by enhancing the effectiveness of standard chemotherapeutic agents, such as paclitaxel and vincristine.
Other research has suggested that fenbendazole may act as a radiosensitizer, which means it increases the sensitivity of cancer cells to radiation. To test this, the authors treated EMT6 cancer cells with varying concentrations of free fenbendazole and RAPA (a rapamycin analog), or with a mixture of the drugs in mPEG-b-PCL micelles. The mPEG-b-PCL particles were then exposed to a dose of radiation, and the survival of the cells was determined. The results showed that mPEG-b-PCL-FEN and mPEG-b-RAPA micelles had similar cytotoxicity to free FEN and RAPA alone, but the combination exhibited synergy at all the tested molar ratios.
The authors of this study went on to test whether fenbendazole would have an impact on the growth of cancerous tumors in mice after they had been irradiated with radiation. The authors found that fenbendazole did not have an impact on the growth of unirradiated tumors, or on the spread of radiation-induced metastases. This was true regardless of whether fenbendazole was given in the diet or via three daily injections of 50 mg/kg of FEN, i.p. The appearance, behavior and weight of the mice were also observed throughout the experiment. fenben for cancer