The widely used antihelminth drug fenbendazole is claimed to treat cancer. The claim is based on a report of a single patient who went into remission after taking the drug.
Health Feedback investigated the claim and found it to be untrue. The remission was likely due to conventional cancer treatments, not fenbendazole. While animal anthelmintic drugs (drugs that kill parasites) have been shown to prevent cancer in petri dishes and mice, no peer-reviewed study has shown that the same effect occurs in humans.
There are no published reports of human trials of fenbendazole as a cancer treatment, and the medication has not been approved for use in humans. However, a small number of individuals have obtained information about fenbendazole through the internet and self-administered it. The result was severe liver damage.
These studies investigated the effect of fenbendazole in combination with radiation and on the growth of EMT6 tumors in mice. Three daily i.p. injections of fenbendazole did not alter the growth of unirradiated or irradiated tumors. The time to reach four-fold volume data show that fenbendazole did not accelerate the rate of tumor growth after radiation.
Febendazole, like other benzimidazole carbamates, destabilizes microtubules and interferes with mitosis. Mitosis is a crucial process for cell division in which chromosomes line up evenly during metaphase and are separated during anaphase. If fenbendazole interferes with mitosis, cells cannot divide and are killed. Because fenbendazole’s mechanism of action overlaps with those of compounds known to act as radiosensitizers, we also examined its effect on the radiation dose-response curves for EMT6 cells in vitro and in vivo. Intensive treatments of EMT6 cells with fenbendazole did not significantly alter the radiation sensitivity, nor did it increase the synergy of irradiation and chemotherapy. fenbendazole cancer treatment