Is Fenbendazole a Dewormer For Cancer?

Fenbendazole, a popular dog deworming medicine, has been touted as a cancer cure by some websites and social media users. The claims are based on the anecdotal account of Joe Tippens, an American who was diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer in 2016 and told to expect only three months to live. He started taking the drug on a veterinarian’s recommendation and claimed his cancer went into remission. The resulting Facebook posts and TikTok videos received millions of views.

The scientific literature supporting the use of benzimidazole anthelmintics in humans as anticancer agents is scant, but some reports are promising. Fenbendazole (marketed as Panacur C) is a broad-spectrum, benzimidazole-based anthelmintic used to treat parasitic infections such as hookworm, roundworm and whipworm by cutting off the parasites’ supply of nutrition. It does so by blocking the formation of tubulin, a protein that is both the skeleton of the inner cell and a highway for transporting nutrients. When tubulin is blocked, the parasite starves to death.

More recently, scientists have begun to explore the potential of fenbendazole as an anticancer drug in people with certain types of cancer. A study in colorectal cancer cells found that the drug can trigger autophagy, a process that can kill tumours and reduce the size of existing ones. In the study, fenbendazole was combined with curcumin, another potent anticancer agent, and Vitamin E. The combination reduced tumour growth and increased the expression of a protein called Beclin-1, which is known to activate autophagy. fenbendazole stage 4 cancer

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