The drug fenbendazole may have an unexpected role in cancer treatment, according to new research. Researchers found that the anthelmintic, which is also used to treat parasites, may help prevent cancer from recurrence by targeting cells that make up the majority of tumors. The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Previous studies have found that fenbendazole can interfere with the ability of cancer cells to take in glucose, which is needed for cell growth and proliferation. This action has led to a decrease in cancer cells both in lab settings and in living subjects, such as mice.
Other studies have found that fenbendazole may prevent cancer cell growth by blocking the activity of an enzyme called mitotic spindle checkpoint 1 (MSK1). MSK1 is a protein that helps to control the movement of chromosomes during cell division. Inhibiting MSK1 could cause the chromosomes to become trapped in G2/M phase and eventually lead to cell death.
In this study, the team found that fenbendazole was effective against 5-fluorouracil-resistant colorectal cancer cells. They found that the drug reduced the viability of these cells by causing cell cycle arrest, apoptosis and mitotic catastrophe.
They also combined fenbendazole with the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin and encapsulated it into micelles. They found that the encapsulated combination had more synergistic effects than fenbendazole alone. This suggests that fenbendazole could be used with other anticancer agents to treat more difficult-to-treat cancers. fenbendazole cancer treatment