While anthelmintic drugs (the class of medications that treat parasitic infections in animals) are being studied for their potential anti-cancer properties, there isn’t yet sufficient evidence to prove they can cure cancer in humans. However, the research into these veterinary drugs is promising. In a 2021 article published in Scientific Reports, researchers found that the drug fenbendazole, which is commonly used to treat worm infestations, could slow down cancer cell growth in animal models and even kill them.
In the study, fenbendazole was shown to act as a moderate microtubule destabilizing agent and cause cancer cells to die by modulating multiple cellular pathways. For example, fenbendazole inhibited tumor growth in a human lung adenocarcinoma xenograft model in female athymic nu/nu mice by causing mitochondrial translocation of p53 and down regulation of GLUT transporters and hexokinase II, two key glycolytic enzymes.
The authors also found that fenbendazole caused G2/M phase arrest in CRC cell lines and patient-derived colon cancer organoids by p53-dependent apoptosis and autophagy-augmented apoptosis. Additionally, fenbendazole caused significant changes in Beclin-1, LC3-I, and Atg7 expression in both CRC cell lines and organoids.
To better understand the impact of fenben cancer treatment on people with lung cancer, researchers conducted qualitative focus group interviews with 20 patients who were diagnosed with the disease and were receiving care at a large hospital. Interviews were semi-structured and lasted for 1.5 hours. Patients were categorized by their age and lung cancer stage at the time of interview. fenben cancer treatment