Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry

, Volume 416, Issue 1–2, pp 85–97 | Cite as

Metastasized lung cancer suppression by Morinda citrifolia (Noni) leaf compared to Erlotinib via anti-inflammatory, endogenous antioxidant responses and apoptotic gene activation

  • Swee-Ling Lim
  • Noordin M. Mustapha
  • Yong-Meng Goh
  • Nurul Ain Abu Bakar
  • Suhaila Mohamed


Metastasized lung and liver cancers cause over 2 million deaths annually, and are amongst the top killer cancers worldwide. Morinda citrifolia (Noni) leaves are traditionally consumed as vegetables in the tropics. The macro and micro effects of M. citrifolia (Noni) leaves on metastasized lung cancer development in vitro and in vivo were compared with the FDA-approved anti-cancer drug Erlotinib. The extract inhibited the proliferation and induced apoptosis in A549 cells (IC50 = 23.47 μg/mL) and mouse Lewis (LL2) lung carcinoma cells (IC50 = 5.50 μg/mL) in vitro, arrested cancer cell cycle at G0/G1 phases and significantly increased caspase-3/-8 without changing caspase-9 levels. The extract showed no toxicity on normal MRC5 lung cells. Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) A549-induced BALB/c mice were fed with 150 and 300 mg/kg M. citrifolia leaf extract and compared with Erlotinib (50 mg/kg body weight) for 21 days. It significantly increased the pro-apoptotic TRP53 genes, downregulated the pro-tumourigenesis genes (BIRC5, JAK2/STAT3/STAT5A) in the mice tumours, significantly increased the anti-inflammatory IL4, IL10 and NR3C1 expression in the metastasized lung and hepatic cancer tissues and enhanced the NFE2L2-dependent antioxidant responses against oxidative injuries. The extract elevated serum neutrophils and reduced the red blood cells, haemoglobin, corpuscular volume and cell haemoglobin concentration in the lung cancer-induced mammal. It suppressed inflammation and oedema, and upregulated the endogenous antioxidant responses and apoptotic genes to suppress the cancer. The 300 mg/kg extract was more effective than the 50 mg/kg Erlotinib for most of the parameters measured.


NFE2L2 Differential counts IL4 IL10 NR3C1 TRP53 BCL2 



This study was supported by the Herbal Development Office, Ministry of Agriculture (Grant No. NH05135009).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UPM-MAKNA Cancer Research Laboratory, Institute of BioscienceUniversiti Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia
  2. 2.Faculty of Veterinary MedicineUniversiti Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia

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