The drug fenbendazole, commonly used to treat parasitic infections, has been shown to slow cancer growth in cell cultures and animals. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it may also have anticancer effects in humans. However, the fenbendazole for humans cancer treatment has not been shown to be effective in randomized clinical trials.
A specialist cancer information nurse told Full Fact that there is currently insufficient evidence to suggest that fenbendazole can cure human cancer. She added that there are many established treatments available for people who have cancer and that the most effective approach depends on the type of cancer someone has.
We interviewed 21 lung cancer patients who had self-administered fenbendazole (table 1). The participants reported acquiring general and false information about fenbendazole on average through three channels daily, with acquaintances or family members being the most common source of this information (B, J, L, P, and S). Some participants obtained this information directly through YouTube or TV news channels (C, N, and U), although only two people actively cross-checked information through the original videos on YouTube.
We tested the effect of fenbendazole on EMT6 cancer cells in vitro by treating them with various concentrations of the drug for 2 or 24 h and measuring their survival using a colony formation assay. We found that fenbendazole reduced glucose uptake into the cells, suggesting that it has potential as an anticancer agent. We further tested whether the effect of fenbendazole is enhanced by irradiation of the tumors in mice, and we found that three daily i.p. injections of fenbendazole were not able to reduce the growth of irradiated tumors.