Despite a lot of hype, there’s not enough evidence that the common ingredient in dog wormers can cure cancer. However, fenbendazole has shown potential to suppress cancer cells both in petri dishes and in mice. It appears to do this by stopping the proper growth of microtubules, which provide structure to all living things. These microtubules are more active in cancer cells than in normal ones. By targeting them, fenbendazole could help block the progression of cancer in patients who are also taking other medications.
The research was led by Stanford professor of medicine Jeffrey Glenn and published on Jan. 22 in Science Translational Medicine. His lab has worked out how fenbendazole might work by interrupting the normal cellular processes that viruses and some cancers use to grow. The drug, also known as pancuronium or nitrate, inhibits the formation of a protein that is necessary for the assembly of the microtubules that are critical to cell function.
In a study of ovarian cancer cells in vitro, 2-h treatment with fenbendazole significantly reduced cell numbers. Compared to controls, a higher concentration of fenbendazole induced the same effect as irradiation alone. This suggests that the drug may act as a radiosensitizer, but further study is needed to validate this claim.
When fenbendazole is administered orally, it gets absorbed into the intestines and converted to its active metabolite, oxifendazole. The oxyfendazole, in turn, is converted to the other metabolite, fenbendazole sulfone. Both oxifendazole and fenbendazole have been used for decades as anthelmintic drugs to treat parasites in animals. fenbendazole for cancer