After the 2020 fenbendazole scandal, Korean society has faced difficulties in communicating with cancer patients about complementary alternative medicine. Among these issues, false information about CAM has become a serious issue because official health communicators have been unable to filter and control the dissemination of this information. To study the sources and perception of this false information, we conducted a focus group interview with 21 cancer patients about their acquisition process and attitude toward fenbendazole, an antihelminth drug. The results revealed that cancer patients acquire general and false information from various media and channels step by step in a similar way, and their attitude toward this information is mostly negative.
Febendazole is a common antihelminth drug with mechanisms of action that overlap those of hypoxia-selective nitroheterocyclic cytotoxins/radiosensitizers. In vitro, 2- and 24-h treatments with fenbendazole caused dose- and time-dependent decreases in cell viability and clonogenicity for EMT6 cells. The toxicity of fenbendazole increased with incubation time and under conditions of severe hypoxia. When fenbendazole was combined with radiation or docetaxel, the agents produced additive cytotoxicities in EMT6 cells.
In vivo, fenbendazole was administered i.p. in EMT6 tumor-bearing BALB/c mice; tumor growth was monitored until each tumor reached a volume of 100 mm3. Mice were stratified by tumor volume and randomly assigned to receive three daily i.p. injections of fenbendazole or 10 Gy irradiation alone. Tumor growth was measured and the times to reach four-times the original tumor volume were rigorously compared between groups. Febendazole did not alter the growth of unirradiated tumors or increase the radiation-induced antineoplastic effects. fenbendazole cancer treatment