A drug used to treat parasitic worms in dogs, known as fenben, is preventing tumor growth in mice. It appears to work by disrupting the proper formation of microtubules, which are vital for all cells. Cancers have a tendency to form abnormal microtubules, which is why anti-cancer drugs often target these structures. However, fenben has been shown to be effective against these malignant structures as well, according to a new study published in Scientific Reports.

Dietary fenbendazole (FZ) is commonly used at research facilities to eradicate rodent pinworm infections, but few reports on its effects on human diseases have been documented. In this study, 20 vendor-supplied 4-wk-old SCID mice were fed a standard diet, diet plus vitamins, or the same diet pretreated with FZ for 4 weeks before tumors were implanted. Tumors were analyzed for volume and growth pattern.

Results demonstrate that FZ significantly suppressed tumor growth and prevented local invasion and lymph node metastasis in unirradiated tumor-bearing mice. In contrast, irradiated tumors were not inhibited by fenbendazole treatment. Interestingly, the FZ-plus-vitamin group showed a decrease in total white cell count and neutrophil levels at study termination.

In addition to acting as a moderate microtubule destabilizer, FZ alters the tubulin network of human cancer cells and causes glucose uptake inhibition by down regulation of GLUT transporters and key glycolytic enzymes. This may result in the accumulation of toxic metabolites, leading to cell death. Moreover, FZ can directly impair the enzymatic activity of HKII in NSCLC cells, which is required for glycolysis. fenben cancer treatment

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