Online social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have been constructively used by patients to disseminate information. However, it is difficult for nonmedical individuals to select and filter complex medical information from such platforms. This has led to the spreading of unproven medical facts. For example, the claim of Joe Tippens that fenbendazole, an anthelmintic, cured his cancer caused a sensation in South Korea and resulted in many patients self-administering fenbendazole orally.
In our study, we found that fenbendazole (FZ) suppresses the growth of tumor cells by interfering with microtubule dynamics. It also enhances the expression of p53, which is often mutated in cancer patients, and triggers apoptosis by inhibiting GSK3. Additionally, it inhibits glucose uptake in cancer cells by down regulation of GLUT transporters and hexokinase II, key glycolytic enzymes.
Furthermore, FZ induces G2/M arrest and apoptosis in 5-FU-sensitive SNU-C5 and SNU-C5/5-FUR CRC cells, and apoptosis is partially mediated by caspase-3, Beclin-1, and LC3-I, and partly through ferroptosis by decreased expression of GPX4. Our results suggest that fenbendazole could be an effective anticancer drug with multiple mechanisms against cancer. Moreover, it could be used in combination with other cancer drugs. In addition to being a broad-spectrum antiparasitic agent, FZ has been safe for long term use in humans. It has been used for the treatment of anthelmintic-resistant hookworms and intestinal parasites such as Ascaris and Trichuris. It is also highly effective against human tapeworms such as Necator americanus and Necator asiatica in humans, and has a track record of safety for chronic use. fenben for cancer