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Low Plasma Coenzyme Q10 Levels and Breast Cancer Risk in Chinese Women

Background: Low circulating levels of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) have been associated with increased cancer incidence and poor prognosis for a number of cancer types, while a recent prospective study observed a positive association for CoQ10 with breast cancer risk.

Methods: We prospectively examined the association of plasma CoQ10 with breast cancer risk in a nested case-control study of Chinese women within the Shanghai Women’s Health Study (SWHS). Prediagnostic plasma samples were obtained from 340 cases and 653 age-matched controls and analyzed for total CoQ10.

Results: A borderline significant inverse association for breast cancer incidence with plasma CoQ10 level was observed by a conditional logistic regression model adjusted for age and age at first live birth, which became significant after elimination of cases diagnosed within 1 year of blood draw (Ptrend = 0.03). This association was independent of menopausal status. Plasma CoQ10 levels were also observed to be significantly associated with circulating γ-tocopherol (r = 0.50; P < 0.0001) and α-tocopherol (r = 0.38; P < 0.0001) levels.

Conclusions: Circulating levels of CoQ10 were generally low in this population and the observed association with breast cancer risk may be limited to those women with exceptionally low values.

Published on 05-16-2013