Several videos circulating on TikTok and Facebook by unlicensed veterinarians claim that the dog deworming medication fenbendazole cures cancer in humans. Despite being used extensively as an antiparasitic drug in animals, this class of drugs has not been shown to be effective against human cancer. This article outlines the evidence that refutes these claims.
The benzimidazole anthelmintic drug fenbendazole is known to exert polymerization inhibitory effects toward tubulin, a protein that makes up microtubules and provides structure and shape to cells . These properties are shared with other cytotoxic anticancer agents that act on microtubules, including the vinca alkaloids (vinblastine, vindesine, and paclitaxel) and the taxanes (paclitaxel and docetaxel).
In experiments examining the effect of fenbendazole on the radiation response of hypoxic cultures, the cultures were made hypoxic by sealing the culture bottles with rubber gaskets, inserting needles for the influx and efflux of gases, and gassing the cultures with a mixture of 95% nitrogen and 5% carbon dioxide containing 1 ppm oxygen for 2 h prior to treatment. Then, the fenbendazole was injected without breaking the hypoxia and the cultures were incubated with or without 10 Gy of radiation for an additional two hours. The growth of the irradiated and non-irradiated tumors was not significantly affected by three daily injections of fenbendazole alone, or by fenbendazole combined with irradiation.
In a small-scale case study, an 80-year-old woman with advanced lung cancer began self-administration of fenbendazole to treat her cancer, based on social media reports that this medication could cure human cancer. Nine months later, she developed severe liver injury that spontaneously resolved after she discontinued the self-administration of fenbendazole. fenbendazole cures cancer