Low plasma coenzyme Q10 levels and breast cancer risk in Chinese women

Robert V. Cooney, Qi Dai, Yu Tang Gao, Wong Ho Chow, Adrian A. Franke, Xiao Ou Shu, Honglan Li, Butian Ji, Qiuyin Cai, Weiwen Chai, Wei Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: Low circulating levels of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ 10) 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. Impact: This study reports an inverse relationship between circulating CoQ10 and breast cancer risk, while the only other prospective study of CoQ10 and breast cancer to date found a positive association. Lower levels of CoQ10 in the SWHS population suggest that the 2 studies may not be contradictory and indicate a possible nonlinear (U-shaped) association of CoQ10 with risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1124-1130
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Low plasma coenzyme Q10 levels and breast cancer risk in Chinese women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this