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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010 Sep;19(9):2351-6. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-10-0396. Epub 2010 Jul 28.

Plasma coenzyme Q10 levels and postmenopausal breast cancer risk: the multiethnic cohort study.

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Epidemiology Program, Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813, USA.



Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a component of the mitochondrial electron transport chain and is considered an important cellular antioxidant. Decreased circulating CoQ10 levels have been reported in women with breast cancer, but evidence is limited. We examined the association of plasma CoQ10 levels with postmenopausal breast cancer risk using prospectively collected blood samples.


Prediagnostic plasma levels of total CoQ10 were measured among 160 incident postmenopausal breast cancer cases and 289 controls in the Multiethnic Cohort Study. Cases and controls were individually matched on age, sex, ethnicity, study location (Hawaii or California), hormone replacement therapy use, date and time of specimen collection, and hours of fasting. Logistic regression was used to compute odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals.


Plasma CoQ10 levels were positively associated with breast cancer risk, overall (P = 0.04). The association was stronger after women diagnosed within 1 year of blood draw were excluded to eliminate possible preclinical cases (odds ratio for the highest versus the lowest tertile, 2.26; 95% confidence interval, 1.22-4.19; P for trend = 0.01).


Higher CoQ10 levels in postmenopausal women may be associated with increased breast cancer risk.


A potential role for CoQ10 in the development and progression of breast cancer has been postulated, but epidemiologic evidence is lacking. Findings from this prospective cohort study add to the limited literature, indicating the potential positive association of circulating CoQ10 with postmenopausal breast cancer risk.

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