Background: Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a common antioxidant supplement with known cardioprotective effects and potential anticancer benefits.
Objectives: We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of oral CoQ10 in female breast cancer patients with the primary objective of determining CoQ10's effects on self-reported fatigue, depression, and quality of life (QOL). Methods Eligible women with newly diagnosed breast cancer and planned adjuvant chemotherapy were randomized to oral supplements of 300 mg CoQ10 or placebo, each combined with 300 IU vitamin E, divided into 3 daily doses. Treatment was continued for 24 weeks. Blood tests, QOL measures, and levels of plasma CoQ10 and vitamin E were obtained at baseline and at 8, 16, and 24 weeks. Mixed-effects models were used to assess treatment differences in outcomes over time.
Results: Between September 2004 and March 2009, 236 women were enrolled. Treatment arms were well balanced with respect to age (range, 28-85 years), pathologic stage (stage 0, 91%; stage 1, 8%; stage II, 1%), ethnicity (white, 87%; black, 11%; Hispanic, 2%), and planned therapy. Baseline CoQ10 levels in the CoQ10 and placebo arms were 0.70 and 0.73 microg/mL, respectively; the 24-week CoQ10 levels were 1.83 and 0.79 microg/mL, respectively. There were no significant differences between the CoQ10 and placebo arms at 24 weeks for scores on the Profile of Mood States-Fatigue questionnaire (least squares means, 7.08 vs 8.24, P = .257), the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue tool (37.6 vs 37.6, P = .965), the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast Cancer instrument (111.9 vs 110.4, P = .577), or the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale (11.6 vs 12.3, P = .632).
Conclusions: Supplementation with conventional doses of CoQ10 led to sustained increases in plasma CoQ10 levels but did not result in improved self-reported fatigue or QOL after 24 weeks of treatment.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00096356.