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Role of Coenzyme Q10 in Breast Cancer

Posted by Manuela Boyle on 27 December 2021
Role of Coenzyme Q10 in Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnose cancer in women. According to the World Health Organisation, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, claiming the lives of women each year and affecting countries at all levels of modernisation. Therefore, novel approaches to the management of breast cancer need to be developed.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a biological quinone compound that is widely found in living organisms including yeasts, plants, and animals. There are several forms of Coenzyme Q, but Q10 is the major form found in humans and animals and has been studied the most. CoQ10 can also be found in many foods, such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, beef, soybeans, peanuts, and spinach. CoQ10 is widely used as a dietary supplement, and two major physiological activities of it have been reported. One is the participation in oxidation reaction in the mitochondrial respiratory chain by enhancing the synthesis of ATP. The other is the antioxidant activity that appears with the reduced form only (ubiquinol).  As an antioxidant, CoQ10 blocks the action of free radical and activated oxygen species that can damage cells. Scientists also believe that CoQ10 may have an effect on the immune system by reducing cytokine levels. 

The rationale for the use of CoQ10 as a therapeutic agent is based upon its fundamental role in mitochondrial function, cellular bioenergetics as well as antioxidant and immunomodulation effect. This statement is reinforced because CoQ10 has an excellent safety record and is well tolerated at high doses over long periods with limited side effects.

Coenzyme Q10/Coq10 Food Sources

  • Fatty fishes such as salmon and mackerel
  • Meats such as beef 
  • Vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower
  • Nuts such as peanuts and pistachios
  • Sesame seeds
  • Organ meats such as chicken liver, chicken heart, beef liver etc.
  • Fruits such as strawberries
  • Soybeans

Different small clinical trials evaluated the impact of Coenzyme Q10/CoQ10/ubiquinol supplementation in patients with different types of cancers. They found that CoQ10/ubiquinol supplementation had potential benefits in different cancer types such as breast cancer, leukaemia, lymphoma, melanoma and liver cancer. CoQ10 has shown positive effects (benefits) by reducing the levels of inflammatory cytokine markers in the blood and improving quality of life in breast cancer patients, reducing treatment side-effects such as anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity in children with leukaemia and lymphoma, reducing recurrence in melanoma patients or improving survival in patients with end-stage cancers. 



Tafazoli A. Coenzyme Q10 in breast cancer care. Future Oncol. 2017 May;13(11):1035-1041. doi: 10.2217/fon-2016-0547. PMID: 28481148

Author:Manuela Boyle
Tags:NewsNutritional SupplementsCancerBreast Cancer


  • The Institute for Functional Medicine
  • Society for Integrative Oncology
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Australian Traditional-Medicine Society
  • Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia