In 2022, a woman who was diagnosed with Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) started taking oral fenbendazole, an anthelmintic commonly used in dogs. She informed her physician that she had become fearful of cancer progression after seeing online information claiming the drug was effective against cancer. The patient reported that her CEA levels improved after she began taking fenbendazole. However, the tumours did not shrink. She was referred for further investigations, and it was discovered that her liver function had been impaired by the drug.
Social media have been constructively used to exchange medical information among patients, but the source of this information is often unvalidated. It is therefore important for physicians to be aware of the existence of alternative treatments and to enquire about patients who self-administer orally ingested products such as dietary supplements, herbs or bioactive compounds.
A focus group interview with 21 cancer patients was conducted to examine the channels where false and general cancer information is acquired daily, the quality of the obtained information, and how patients perceive this information.
Treatment with fenbendazole significantly reduces tumorigenicity of human NSCLC cells in vitro and in vivo. This anti-tumor effect is associated with disruption of microtubule dynamics and p53 stabilization, as well as interference with glucose metabolism by inhibiting the expression of glycolytic enzymes. Specifically, hexokinase II and proline oxidase are inhibited by fenbendazole. Moreover, the lipid peroxidation marker 2-NBDG is induced by fenbendazole. This suggests that ferroptosis is the main cell death pathway in fenbendazole-induced preferential elimination of cancer cells. fenben cancer treatment