What is it about?

The main objective of the present study was to determine the potential of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids or coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) to alter serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in normal healthy men.

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Why is it important?

Prostate cancer (PCa) accounts for 28% of total cancer incidence and is the second most common cause of cancer related death of men in the USA. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing is widely used for the detection of asymptomatic and early-stage PCa. There is great controversy surrounding PSA screening, because a considerable number of men with elevated serum PSA, who were referred for biopsy, were not diagnosed with PCa. Indeed, serum PSA concentrations be affected by many factors unrelated to prostate disease, including age, race, type 2 diabetes mellitus, dietary factors, certain clinical cardiac problems) and obesity. Consumption of some medications such as non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs, acetaminophen and statin scan also affect serum PSA levels. In general, overall PCa mortality is high in Northern Europe and North America, and is low in Japan and other Asian nations(13). But, for Japanese migrants to the USA, the incidence of mortality increases as a function of the number of years lived in the USA. The major contributory factor thought to account for this increased frequency in PCa death is the Western diet.


CoQ10 is considered an important cellular antioxidant and a potential anticancer agent. In addition to its role as an antioxidant, other roles include a non-specific stimulant for the immune system and a role in membrane stabilisation, inhibition of intracellular phospholipases and stabilisation of Ca-dependent slow channels. Very few studies have addressed the role of CoQ10 on PCa and serum PSA levels, with contradicting results. Two preliminary studies with CoQ10 have demonstrated potential clinical benefits in PCa patients. On the other hand, Chai et al. examined the association of serum CoQ10 levels with PCa risk in a case–control study. They did not find a statistically significant association between plasma CoQ10 levels and PCa risk. In another study, Hoenjet et al. assessed the effect of a nutritional supplement containing vitamin E, Se, vitamin C and CoQ10 on serum PSA levels in patients with hormonally untreated PCa and increasing serum PSA levels. The supplementation did not affect serum level of PSA.

Dr Mohammad Reza Safarinejad
University of Medical Sceices

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Effects of EPA, γ-linolenic acid or coenzyme Q10 on serum prostate-specific antigen levels: a randomised, double-blind trial, British Journal Of Nutrition, November 2012, Cambridge University Press, DOI: 10.1017/s0007114512004783.
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