Coenzyme Q10 concentrations and antioxidant status in tissues of breast cancer patients

Clin Biochem. 2000 Jun;33(4):279-84. doi: 10.1016/s0009-9120(00)00067-9.


Objectives: An increasing amount of experimental and epidemiological evidence implicates the involvement of oxygen derived radicals in the pathogenesis of cancer development. Oxygen derived radicals are able to cause damage to membranes, mitochondria, and macromolecules including proteins, lipids and DNA. Accumulation of DNA damages has been suggested to contribute to carcinogenesis. It would, therefore, be advantageous to pinpoint the effects of oxygen derived radicals in cancer development.

Design and methods: In the present study, we investigated the relationship between oxidative stress and breast cancer development in tissue level. Breast cancer is the most common malignant disease in Western women. Twenty-one breast cancer patients, who underwent radical mastectomy and diagnosed with infiltrative ductal carcinoma, were used in the study. We determined coenzyme Q10 (Q) concentrations, antioxidant enzyme activities (mitochondrial and total superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), catalase), and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels in tumor and surrounding tumor-free tissues.

Results: Q concentrations in tumor tissues significantly decreased as compared to the surrounding normal tissues (p < 0.001). Higher MDA levels were observed in tumor tissues than noncancerous tissues (p < 0.001). The activities of MnSOD, total SOD, GSH-Px and catalase in tumor tissues significantly increased (p < 0.001) compared to the controls.

Conclusions: These findings may support that reactive oxygen species increased in malignant cells, and may cause overexpression of antioxidant enzymes and the consumption of coenzyme Q10. Increased antioxidant enzyme activities may be related with the susceptibility of cells to carcinogenic agents and the response of tumor cells to the chemotherapeutic agents. Administration of coenzyme Q10 by nutrition may induce the protective effect of coenzyme Q10 on breast tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Breast / enzymology
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Ductal, Breast / enzymology*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Coenzymes
  • Cytoprotection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Mastectomy, Modified Radical
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Ubiquinone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Ubiquinone / metabolism*


  • Antioxidants
  • Coenzymes
  • Ubiquinone
  • Malondialdehyde
  • coenzyme Q10