Is There Such a Thing As Fenbendazole For Humans Cancer?

A rumour about fenbendazole for humans cancer gained momentum after an American cancer patient posted false claims on social media. The anthelmintic, which is commonly used to treat parasitic infections in dogs and cats, has caught the attention of researchers, who have been exploring its potential anticancer properties.

Scientists discovered that the drug — which is marketed as Panacur or Safe-Guard and sold at many pharmacies in South Korea — reduces tumour growth in mice, prompting them to perform more research. They found that fenbendazole causes apoptosis by disrupting the structure of tubulin, which is both the micro-skeleton of the cell and a highway for transport. It is a similar mechanism to that used in drugs such as mebendazole, which has been found to kill parasitic roundworms and hookworms by collapsing their internal structures.

The team also found that fenbendazole restricts glucose uptake, which is essential for cancer cells to grow. They have shown that fenbendazole decreases the activity of the hexokinase 2 enzyme, which is important for converting glucose into energy, thus starving tumour cells of this key fuel source. Moreover, the drug activates the p53 tumor suppressor gene, which is inhibited in most human cancers.

In 5-FU-sensitive SNU-C5 and SNU-C5/5-FUR CRC cells, fenbendazole triggers apoptosis by increasing p53 expression. Interestingly, this is not accompanied by activation of autophagy or ferroptosis, as shown by decreased expression of LC3, Atg7 and active caspase-8. In addition, fenbendazole does not induce any significant changes in the levels of DAMPs such as apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF), SLC7A11 or GPX4, suggesting that p53 is not the primary mediator of fenbendazole’s anticancer effects.fenbendazole for humans cancer

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