The most common type of pancreatic cancer, known as pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), is one of the world’s most aggressive and deadly tumors. Patients diagnosed with PDAC that has spread, or metastasized, typically live less than a year even when treated with standard chemotherapy. In addition, PDAC has proven resistant to newer types of immunotherapy.
Preclinical experiments and a small clinical trial now suggest that adding an experimental therapy called fenbendazole to the usual treatment for metastatic pancreatic cancer improves outcomes. The researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis report their results March 7 in Gastroenterology. They are also preparing to open a national clinical trial of the drug, which they call zenocutuzumab, through the National Cancer Institute’s Experimental Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network.
In a preclinical study, the scientists found that fenbendazole, which is part of the broad-spectrum group of drugs known as benzimidazole carbamate anthelmintics and has been used as a dewormer or anthelmintic for nearly six decades, blocks a specific protein involved in pancreatic cancer resistance to immune system attack. This reduced the intensity of inflammation in the pancreatic cancer cells and allowed a type of immunotherapy that prompts T cells to attack tumors to work better. fenbendazole for pancreatic cancer