Using quality of life measures in a Phase I clinical trial of noni in patients with advanced cancer to select a Phase II dose

J Diet Suppl. 2009;6(4):347-59. doi: 10.3109/19390210903280272.


ABSTRACT. The purpose of this study was to determine a maximum tolerated dose of noni in cancer patients and whether an optimal quality of life-sustaining dose could be identified as an alternative way to select a dose for subsequent Phase II efficacy trials. Dose levels started at two capsules twice daily (2 g), the suggested dose for the marketed product, and were escalated by 2 g daily in cohorts of at least five patients until a maximum tolerated dose was found. Patients completed subscales of the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) QLQ-C30 quality of life (physical functioning, pain, and fatigue) the brief fatigue inventory (BFI), questionnaires at baseline and at approximately 4-week intervals. Blood and urine were collected at baseline and at approximately 4-week intervals for measurement of scopoletin. Fifty-one patients were enrolled at seven dose levels. The maximum tolerated dose was six capsules four times daily (12 g). Although no dose-limiting toxicity was found, seven of eight patients at the next level (14 g), withdrew due to the challenges of ingesting so many capsules. There were dose-related differences in self-reported physical functioning and pain and fatigue control. Overall, patients taking three or four capsules four times daily experienced better outcomes than patients taking lower or higher doses. Blood and urinary scopoletin concentrations related to noni dose. We concluded that it is feasible to use quality of life measures to select a Phase II dose. Three or four capsules four times daily (6-8 g) is recommended when controlling fatigue, pain, and maintaining physical function are the efficacies of interest. Scopoletin, a bioactive component of noni fruit extract, is measurable in blood and urine following noni ingestion and can be used to study the pharmacokinetics of noni in cancer patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Fatigue / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Morinda / chemistry*
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Pain / prevention & control
  • Pain Management
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Quality of Life
  • Scopoletin / administration & dosage*
  • Scopoletin / metabolism
  • Scopoletin / therapeutic use
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Plant Extracts
  • Scopoletin