Fenben For Cancer

Fenben, also known as metronidazole, is a prescription drug used to treat parasitic infections in humans. It has also been found to slow cancer cells in laboratory tests. However, as Full Fact has previously reported, there is insufficient evidence from randomized clinical trials that it can cure cancer in people.

Researchers from the University of Toronto found that fenbendazole (FZ) can disrupt microtubules, cause cell cycle arrest and kill cancer cells in human melanoma cells in the laboratory (in vitro). They report this in the journal Scientific Reports. Their study builds on previous research indicating that fenbendazole, as well as other benzimidazole drugs like metronidazole, can prevent tumours from growing in mouse models.

They found that FZ disrupts microtubules by interacting with tubulin at the colchicine binding site and causing a conformation change that blocks microtubule formation. It also interacts with the p53 protein to stabilize it, and it interferes with glucose metabolism by inhibiting hexokinase activity in cancer cells. This leads to preferential elimination of cancer cells over normal cells.

The scientists investigated the cellular effects of FZ by using a clonogenic assay, in which H460 cells were treated with 1 uM FZ for 48 hours and their colony formation was assessed after Hoechst 33342 staining (i & ii) or TdT staining (iv & v). In this test, both free FZ and the FEN/RAPA-loaded micelles effectively inhibited cancer cell proliferation at concentrations up to 2090 nM. They also found that both the free and the FEN/RAPA-loaded microparticles induced apoptosis in these cancer cells.

To examine the toxicity of FZ in vivo, mice were xenografted with A549 tumors that grew to 2-4 mm in diameter. The animals were then fed FZ dissolved in olive oil (1 mg/mouse) every second day or control mice received only olive oil. At the end of the experiment, the mice were weighed and their tumors were measured. The tumors of FZ-treated mice were smaller and lighter than those of control mice, while the vascularity of the tumors was significantly reduced.

The scientists suggest that these multiple mechanisms of cytotoxicity are the collective underlying mechanism of FZ induced preferential elimination of cancer cells in a model system in vivo. This is in contrast to single-target drugs that typically exhibit limited efficacy and are subject to resistance mechanisms. This study demonstrates that pleiotropic agents, such as FZ, may be a viable therapeutic strategy for cancer treatment.  fenben for cancer