How Does CoQ10 Interact with Doxorubicin?

November 28, 2012

A cellular study suggests that CoQ10 can be cardioprotective without getting in the way of cancer treatment.

Researchers at Columbia University are exploring whether coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) interferes with doxorubicin, a chemotherapy drug also known by the brand names Rubex and Adriamycin. Their recent in vitro study is now published in the journal Integrative Cancer Therapies.

Doxorubicin is used to treat a variety of cancers, including breast cancer, but it comes with the well-documented risk of congestive heart failure. If this health risk is due to an increased generation of reactive oxygen species in heart cell mitochondria, administering the antioxidant CoQ10 might counter that effect-a benefit so long as CoQ10 doesn’t also interfere with chemotherapy.

In a series of in vitro cell culture experiments, the researchers treated breast cancer cells with doxorubicin and various CoQ10 concentrations. Understandably, CoQ10 concentrations increased in the cells with high administration, but they also showed no interference with doxorubicin’s ability to slow cancer growth. The researchers confirmed this lack of an effect across a wide range of CoQ10 doses.

If CoQ10 can support the heart during chemotherapy, in vivo studies are warranted; so far, early signs in vivo are optimistic.