Albendazole inhibits colon cancer progression and therapy resistance by targeting ubiquitin ligase RNF20

Iram Fatima, Rizwan Ahmad, Susmita Barman, Saiprasad Gowrikumar, Kristina Pravoverov, Mark Primeaux, Kurt W. Fisher, Amar B. Singh, Punita Dhawan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The repurposing of FDA-approved drugs for anti-cancer therapies is appealing due to their established safety profiles and pharmacokinetic properties and can be quickly moved into clinical trials. Cancer progression and resistance to conventional chemotherapy remain the key hurdles in improving the clinical management of colon cancer patients and associated mortality. Methods: High-throughput screening (HTS) was performed using an annotated library of 1,600 FDA-approved drugs to identify drugs with strong anti-CRC properties. The candidate drug exhibiting most promising inhibitory effects in in-vitro studies was tested for its efficacy using in-vivo models of CRC progression and chemoresistance and patient derived organoids (PTDOs). Results: Albendazole, an anti-helminth drug, demonstrated the strongest inhibitory effects on the tumorigenic potentials of CRC cells, xenograft tumor growth and organoids from mice. Also, albendazole sensitized the chemoresistant CRC cells to 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and oxaliplatin suggesting potential to treat chemoresistant CRC. Mechanistically, Albendazole treatment modulated the expression of RNF20, to promote apoptosis in CRC cells by delaying the G2/M phase and suppressing anti-apoptotic-Bcl2 family transcription. Conclusions: Albendazole, an FDA approved drug, carries strong therapeutic potential to treat colon cancers which are aggressive and potentially resistant to conventional chemotherapeutic agents. Our findings also lay the groundwork for further clinical testing. (Figure presented.)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1046-1058
Number of pages13
JournalBritish journal of cancer
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 6 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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