Pancreatic cancer is a deadly disease with few treatment options. New therapies are needed to help patients survive longer after surgery. Researchers are developing new ways to use chemotherapy drugs and radiation therapy to kill cancer cells that remain after surgery. They are also exploring cell-based therapies that use immune cells to target cancer and reduce resistance to drugs.
A deworming medicine called fenbendazole, sold as Nexgard or Panacur, is sometimes used to treat certain types of pancreatic cancer. Posts claiming that fenbendazole cures pancreatic cancer have garnered millions of views on social media platforms like Facebook and TikTok. These posts are based on an anecdotal account by an American man named Joe Tippens, who was diagnosed with a type of lung cancer and claimed his cancer went into remission after taking fenbendazole based on a recommendation from a veterinarian.
Scientists have found that fenbendazole and other FDA-approved benzimidazole medicines, including mebendazole and oxibendazole, reduce the size of tumors in mice. These studies led to the development of a multi-component drug strategy based on fenbendazole that was shown to significantly improve survival in mice with advanced pancreatic cancer. This strategy was further tested in a clinical trial sponsored by the NCI’s Pancreatic Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE). Our study is the first to show that fenbendazole has a prominent antitumor effect in pancreatic cancer, as it markedly inhibited viability, proliferation and clonogenicity of human pancreatic cancer cells. It also altered microtubule organization, affected migration, drastically perturbed the cell cycle and promoted apoptosis. Combinations of fenbendazole with the first-line drug gemcitabine synergistically affected PC cell viability. fenbendazole for pancreatic cancer