Following anecdotal fenbendazole cancer success stories, researchers have been experimenting with the “repurposed” use of the dewormer for cancer treatment. In drug “repurposing,” a medicine is used for something other than the original medical indication, which in this case is to treat rodent pinworms. Fenbendazole is an inexpensive, effective anti-parasitic, and has a very low risk of side effects.
Fenbendazole belongs to a class of drugs known as benzimidazoles, or bZs for short. The bZs are broad-spectrum anthelmintic medications that have been safely used for decades in both humans and animals, primarily as parasitic worm treatments. There are several members of this family, including mebendazole (MBZ), albendazole (ABZ), oxibendazole (OBZ) and flubendazole (FLU). They all work by disrupting the microtubules inside cells, which are like little ropes that hold things together in a cell. When a cancer cell can’t form its microtubules, it cannot grow or reproduce as fast as normal cells, and dies. Unlike chemotherapy, which destroys all cells in the body, bZs only target abnormal cells, such as cancer cells.
Despite its effectiveness as an animal anthelmintic, bZs don’t have much effect on human tumors on their own. However, when paired with vitamins, they seem to have considerable anti-cancer effects. Specifically, the bZs interfere with sugar uptake in cancer cells, which can starve them of their primary fuel source. They also boost the production of a cancer-killing gene called p53.
In a recent study, a group of mice were implanted with lymphoma cells and treated with either fenbendazole or a vitamin-rich diet. When compared to control groups, the fenbendazole-vitamin group had a significantly reduced tumor size. While further research and substantial evidence is needed to confirm these results, the repurposed use of fenbendazole for cancer shows promise.
It’s important to discuss any new additions to your cancer treatment regimen with a health care professional. Your integrative oncology nurse can help you understand if fenbendazole for cancer is right for you. They can also advise you on any dietary changes that may enhance the effect of your medication, and help coordinate your holistic treatment plan with your medical team.