Fenbendazole is a popular medication used to treat parasites and worms (roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, some tapeworms, etc.) in animals (common brand names include Pancur and Safe-Guard). It’s also been used as part of a treatment method for cancer known as the Joe Tippens Protocol.
A recent article by researchers from the National Centre for Human Genome Studies and Research at Panjab University reports that fenbendazole, which belongs to a family of drugs called benzimidazole carbamates, could be effective against several types of cancer in humans. According to the research published in Scientific Reports, fenbendazole prevents cancer cell proliferation and induces apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in cancer cells growing in a lab dish (in vitro). It also inhibits growth of tumors in mice with colorectal cancer, and reduces the spread of pancreatic cancer in mice with metastatic pancreatic cancer.
But the evidence is sparse, and scientists say it’s too early to know whether fenbendazole could be an effective anti-cancer drug in people. Unlike other drugs that are developed in randomized clinical trials, fenbendazole hasn’t been tested on humans with a wide variety of different cancers.
There’s some speculation that fenbendazole may be able to target a protein in cancer cells called mitotic spindles, which are essential for cellular division and help tumours grow. However, the results from in vitro experiments on human cancer cells weren’t as promising. Moreover, other drugs in the same family as fenbendazole have been found to have anti-cancer effects in mice and humans in randomized clinical trials.
In fact, the nonprofit organization Cancer Research UK told Full Fact that there’s “insufficient evidence” that fenbendazole can cure cancer. It hasn’t been tested in any clinical trials on humans, and it’s not FDA-approved for treating or preventing cancer.
A few anecdotal accounts of people using fenbendazole to treat their cancers have been shared online. While these accounts are compelling, they don’t constitute rigorous research. Especially since the individuals involved often have other conventional treatments, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and weren’t enrolled in a clinical trial to evaluate fenbendazole alone.
In addition, some of the anecdotes cited on websites that promote fenbendazole as a cancer cure don’t have any medical or scientific support. For example, the person who claimed to have used fenbendazole to cure his melanoma had a melanoma that wasn’t resected and had not spread to other organs.
While there’s some limited research that fenbendazole can kill cancer cells in petri dishes and mice, it’s too early to know whether the same effect will occur in people. And if it does, how long it would take. Until then, it’s best to avoid this controversial medication. The FDA tells PolitiFact that there’s insufficient proof that fenbendazole can be used to treat or cure cancer. And it says that any claims about fenbendazole’s efficacy should be evaluated by doctors and scientists with extensive training in cancer care. fenbendazole for humans