NR in Chemo-induced Peripheral Neuropathy

  • End date
    Mar 1, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Donna Hammond, PhD
Updated on 9 February 2022
monoclonal antibodies
breast cancer
peripheral neuropathy


The purpose of this single-arm phase II trial is to determine whether nicotinamide riboside (NIAGEN) prevents the progression of peripheral sensory neuropathy in patients receiving infusions of paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer or recurrent platinum-resistant ovarian, endometrial, peritoneal, or fallopian tube cancer.


Peripheral neuropathies are a dose-limiting, disabling, and debilitating side effect of virtually every known class of chemotherapeutic agent, and are referred to as chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathies (CIPN) (Seretny et al., 2014). The incidence and severity of CIPN increase as the cumulative dose, frequency of administration, and the number of therapeutic cycles increase. As many as 68% of patients have CIPN when assessed within 30 days of completing treatment. Patients experience paresthesias, dysesthesias (an unpleasant abnormal sensation, whether spontaneous or evoked), hyperalgesia (increased pain from a stimulus that normally provokes pain), allodynia (pain due to a stimulus that does not normally provoke pain), numbness or loss of sensation, or ongoing pain that is burning, lancinating or electric shock-like in nature. CIPN can seriously diminish a patient's quality of life, and can interfere with self-care and activities of daily living. The severity of CIPN may also necessitate reducing the dose of chemotherapeutic agent, delaying the next cycle of chemotherapy, or terminating treatment entirely (Argyriou et al., 2012; Argyriou et al., 2014; Miltenburg et al., 2014; Park et al., 2013).

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is an essential redox coenzyme required for cell viability, basic bioenergetics, and fast axonal transport (Yang and Sauve, 2016). It plays an important role in protection against axonal injury from either mechanical or neurotoxic injury (Araki et al., 2004; Sasaki et al., 2006; Sasaki et al., 2009; Gerdts et al., 2015; Khan et al., 2014; Conforti et al., 2014; Di Stefano et al., 2015). Nicotinamide riboside (NIAGEN) is a form of vitamin B3 and a precursor in the pathway for synthesis of NAD+ (Bieganowski et al., 2004; Trammell et al., 2016; Chi and Sauve, 2013). Oral administration of NIAGEN increases levels of NAD+ in the blood, liver, skeletal muscle, and other tissues (Canto et al., 2012; Hamity et al, 2017; Airhart et al., 2017; Martens et al., 2018).

NIAGEN) has been reported to prevent tactile hypersensitivity and blunt the affective dimension of nociception in a rat model of CIPN (Hamity et al., 2017) It also prevents signs of peripheral neuropathy in a mouse model of diabetes (Trammell et al., 2016) The proposed single-arm pilot phase II study will examine whether daily dosing with NIAGEN) can prevent the progression of CIPN in persons with stage IV breast cancer or recurrent platinum-resistant ovarian, endometrial, peritoneal, or fallopian tube cancer receiving once weekly infusions of paclitaxel for 12 weeks.

In this study, persons with metastatic breast cancer or platinum-resistant recurrent ovarian cancer who are receiving weekly infusions of paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel and anticipated to survive for at least 3 months will be offered the opportunity to enroll in this study when they develop a peripheral neuropathy of at least grade 1. Persons with peripheral neuropathy of no greater than a grade 2 from prior therapy may also enroll in this study if they are receiving weekly infusions of paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel. Upon enrollment, health care providers will review the overall severity of the participant's neuropathy and assign a baseline grade. Participants will also complete two short questionnaires that will more specifically score how the peripheral neuropathy interferes with daily functions of living. A small sample of blood will be taken at the completion of the paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel infusion to measure levels of paclitaxel. The participant will then be sent home with capsules of NIAGEN to take twice daily. Each week upon return to the clinic a small sample of blood will be taken before the infusion of paclitaxel to measure biomarkers for NIAGEN, and other samples of blood will be taken to evaluate clinical chemistries, kidney, and liver function. Another sample of blood will be obtained after the paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel infusion to measure levels of paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel. The health care provider will meet with the patient each week to score the overall severity of the peripheral neuropathy, and the participant will answer another questionnaire with more specific questions. Once a month, the participant will be asked to fill out a second questionnaire. Participants will take 300 mg/day NIAGEN in the first week and 1000 mg/day in the subsequent 11 weeks. The study will conclude one week after the 12th infusion of paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel. Health care providers will contact the participant at various times up to 6 months to monitor their status.

Beginning with completion of the trial by the 10th participant and continuing with each subsequent participant up to 39, we will use a Bayesian statistical approach (Lee and Liu, 2008; i.e. predictive probability) to determine whether NIAGEN has prevented a worsening of the peripheral neuropathy. This approach we let us make an early determination of futility. We will also determine whether NIAGEN has decreased the need to delay or diminish the doses of paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel due to severity of the peripheral neuropathy. The results of this trial will inform the design of a subsequent randomized, placebo-controlled, blinded clinical trial.

Condition Chemotherapy-induced Peripheral Neuropathy, Breast Cancer Metastatic, Platinum-resistant Recurrent Ovarian Cancer
Treatment Nicotinamide Riboside
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03642990
SponsorDonna Hammond, PhD
Last Modified on9 February 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Be able to give written informed consent and HIPAA authorization
Be 18 to 85 years old
Have been diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer of any type, platinum-resistant recurrent ovarian, peritoneal, endometrial, or fallopian tube cancer, or platinum-resistant recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer and are anticipated to survive for at least three months
Have an ECOG Performance Status of 0-2
Able to take medication orally - up to four capsules in the morning (am) and four capsules in the evening (pm)
Be undergoing infusions of paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel for treatment of breast cancer, platinum-resistant recurrent ovarian, peritoneal, endometrial, or fallopian tube cancer, or platinum-resistant recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer and be determined to have at least a grade 1 neuropathy based on the CTCAE version 4.03 guidelines for peripheral sensory neuropathy. Breast cancer patients may also be treated concomitantly with monoclonal antibodies to HER2 such as trastuzumab (Herceptin) and pertuzumab (Perjeta). Patients with platinum-resistant ovarian, peritoneal, endometrial, or fallopian tube cancer or platinum-resistant recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer may also be treated concomitantly with a vascular endothelial growth receptor 2 inhibitor such as bevacizumab (Avastin) or a checkpoint inhibitor
Females must be either postmenopausal for at least 1 year or surgically sterile for at least 6 weeks. Females of childbearing potential must have a negative pregnancy test at screening to be eligible for study participation, and agree to take appropriate precautions to avoid pregnancy from screening through follow-up
Males must agree to take appropriate precautions to avoid fathering a child from screening through follow-up. The following methods have been determined to be more than 99% effective (<1% failure rate per year when used consistently and correctly) and are permitted under this protocol for use by the patient and his/her partner
Complete abstinence from sexual intercourse when this is in line with the preferred and usual lifestyle of the patient
Double barrier methods including condom with spermicide in conjunction with use of an intrauterine device or condom with spermicide in conjunction with use of a diaphragm
Surgical sterilization (bilateral oopherectomy with or without hysterectomy, tubal ligation or vasectomy) at least 6 weeks prior to taking study treatment. In the case of oophorectomy alone, only when the reproductive status of the woman has been confirmed by follow-up levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and/or estradiol
Non-hormonal intrauterine device used as directed by provider placing this is
also acceptable

Exclusion Criteria

Pre-existent peripheral neuropathy that is unrelated to chemotherapy
Pre-existent chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy greater than grade 2
Known metastases to the brain, spinal cord or peripheral nerves, or leptomeningeal disease
Concurrent administration of a poly (ADP-Ribose) polymerase inhibitor (e.g. olaparib, rucaparib)
Concurrent administration of a platinum-based chemotherapy
Diabetes requiring management by medication
Diabetes managed by medication
Neutrophils < 1,000 cells/m3
Hemoglobin < 8.0 g/dcl
Platelets < 100,000 cells/m3
Creatinine clearance < 30 ml/min
AST or ALT values > 2.5 X upper limits of normal
Total bilirubin > 2.0 X upper limits of normal
Heavy alcohol use defined at > 8 drinks/week by women or 12 drinks/week by men
Chronic pain greater than 3 months duration within the past year
Severe psychiatric illness
Current imprisonment
Limitations of self-expression, defined as an inability to answer questions posed by physicians, nurses, care-givers, or other members of the investigative team or an inability to describe somatosensations
Known HIV, not on therapy
Regular use of nutritional supplements that contain nicotinamide or NIAGEN within the previous 30 days
Use of duloxetine (Cymbalta) within the previous 30 days
Pancreatic insufficiency requiring exocrine enzyme replacement therapy
GI conditions where malabsorption of B complex vitamins is known to occur
Known allergy to Cremophor vehicle used to deliver paclitaxel in its Taxol formulation
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