Pilot study of albendazole in patients with advanced malignancy. Effect on serum tumor markers/high incidence of neutropenia

Oncology. 2001;61(1):42-6. doi: 10.1159/000055351.


Our preclinical studies have shown that the widely used antiparasitic drug albendazole has potent antiproliferative activity against colorectal cancer (CRC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This trial was designed to evaluate albendazole in a small number of patients (n = 7) with either HCC or CRC and hepatic metastases refractory to other forms of therapy. Albendazole was given at 10 mg/kg/day orally in two divided doses for a period of 28 days. To follow the effect of treatment, tumor markers, carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) or alpha-feto protein (AFP), were measured routinely in these patients. A range of hematological and biochemical indices were also serially measured to monitor bone marrow, kidney or liver toxicity. Albendazole therapy resulted in a decrease in CEA in 2 patients. In the remaining 5 with measurable tumor markers, serum CEA or AFP was stabilized in 3 patients, while in the other 2, after an initial stabilization (5-10 days), the markers began to increase. In the 7 patients completing the trial, albendazole was well tolerated and there were no significant changes in any hematological, kidney or liver function tests, but 3 patients were withdrawn for severe neutropenia which was probably contributory to the death of 1 patient. These data support our previous experimental results demonstrating that albendazole has antitumor effects.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Albendazole / administration & dosage
  • Albendazole / adverse effects
  • Albendazole / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • Blood Cell Count
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen / blood
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / blood
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / blood
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / blood
  • Liver Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Carcinoembryonic Antigen
  • Albendazole