Mebendazole is being studied in treating glioblastoma multiforme.
By: Tom Siegenthaler, DPh, RPh, FACA
The antiparasitic drug mebendazole has shown improvement in 2 preclinical models of the brain cancer glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Mebendazole has shown in laboratory and animal studies as a promising drug for GBM. Other studies have looked at combining mebendazole (MBZ) with other chemotherapeutic agents with better results. MBZ showed a significant increase in animal survival time
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and aggressive brain cancer, and despite many treatment advancements, the survival rate of patients is extremely poor. To date there have been more than 600 clinical trials related to GBM, unfortunately no studies or treatments show a clear survival benefit for patients.
Mebendazole was shown in one study to increase survival rates up to 63% in mice who were introduced with the cancer. MBZ was also shown to increase survival in another animal study when combined with radiation to treat malignant meningiomas. MBZ has potential in brain tumors because the drug will cross the blood brain barrier, thus making the drug available to attack cancer cells.
Mebendazole an FDA approved drug to treat different types of worms in humans has a long track record of safety and is non-toxic. Multiple studies have looked at using this old drug to treat a variety of cancers. MBZ works by binding to a part the cancer cells that cause them to grow, and does not affect normal cells in the body.
There are some special considerations in dosing this off label use to treat cancers.
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