While fenben has been shown to slow cancer growth in cell cultures and animals, it’s not clear whether the drug can actually cure people of their disease. The nonprofit organization Cancer Research UK told Full Fact there is no evidence that fenben can “cure” cancer, and it hasn’t gone through the rigorous clinical trials that would show if it could be an effective treatment in humans.
To evaluate the anti-tumor effects of fenbendazole, wild-type and 5-fluorouracil resistant SNU-C5 colorectal cancer cells were treated with varying doses of the drug for 3 days. The viability of the cells was then assessed via a variety of methods, including Western blotting, flow cytometry, and soft agar colony formation assays.
In both SNU-C5 and SNU-C5-5FUR colorectal cancer cells, fenbendazole treatment induced apoptosis through multiple pathways. The drug increased p53-dependent apoptosis through mitochondrial damage and down regulation of the glucosidase genes GLU1, GLUT2 and GLUT5. Furthermore, fenbendazole induced phosphatase-dependent necroptosis through inhibition of the phosphorylation of RIP1 and RIP3 kinases, leading to the activation of the necroptosis effector MLKL.
Additionally, fenbendazole treatment resulted in reduced tumorigenicity in vitro (as shown in the soft agar colony formation assay), and decreased tumor growth in vivo when administered to nu/nu mice bearing A549 lung cancer xenografts. These findings suggest that the anthelmintic property of fenbendazole may also be used to treat a wide range of cancers. Our data indicate that fenbendazole’s anti-tumor activity is mediated by the disruption of microtubule dynamics, p53-dependent apoptosis and modulation of multiple cellular processes. fenben cancer treatment