Background: Coenzyme Q10 or ubiquinone is a redox component of the respiratory chain, which may be involved in the pathogenesis of cancer.
Methods: In order to better understand the role of this vitamin in the pathogenesis of breast cancer, a clinical trial including 200 women hospitalized for the biopsy and/or the ablation of a breast tumor was conducted. Ubiquinone plasma concentrations were determined simultaneously with vitamin E plasma concentrations (as antioxidant reference) by HPLC.
Results: A coenzyme Q10 deficiency was noted both in carcinomas (80 patients) and non-malignant lesions (120 patients), while vitamin E concentrations were within the normal range. A correlation was shown between the intensity of the deficiency and the bad prognosis of the breast disease based on high TNM and SBR values or the lack of estrogen receptors. However, neither cathepsin D level nor adenopathy invasion was related to ubiquinone levels.
Conclusions: Since prooxidants may promote tumorigenesis, ubiquinone supplementation in breast cancer could be relevant.