Sunday 19th May 2024
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Fenbendazole is an anthelmintic medication that is used to treat gastrointestinal parasites (pinworms, giardiasis, roundworms, hookworms, and Taenia solium). It is also used as a dewormer for cats and dogs. Anecdotal reports claim that fenbendazole can treat cancer by interfering with the formation of microtubules. These are the polymers that make up a protein scaffold in cells called the cytoskeleton, which provides structure and shape to cells. Microtubules are a target of several cytotoxic anticancer agents including vinca alkaloids and taxanes.

In cell experiments, fenbendazole at concentrations below the clinically relevant level does not inhibit the growth of exponentially growing EMT6 cells in monolayer culture. Similarly, a 2-h treatment with fenbendazole does not affect the viability of A549 human lung cancer cells in a colony-forming assay. However, a 24-h treatment with fenbendazole significantly decreases the number of A549 cells that grow into colonies (yield-corrected surviving fraction). The results suggest that fenbendazole may interfere with the normal progression of the cell cycle.

Full Fact has spoken to a specialist cancer information nurse, who confirmed that there is no evidence fenbendazole is effective against cancer in humans. There are no human trials of fenbendazole as an anticancer agent. A clinical trial is the only way to find out whether a drug will work in people. In a post for the online news site The Conversation, Caroline Geraghty wrote that “the claims about fenbendazole killing cancer cells are completely unfounded.” She says that while some studies of drugs in petri dishes and mice can look promising, we do not know whether they will actually be effective in humans until they are tested in trials involving patients. fenbendazole for cancer

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