DES exposure and the aging woman: mothers, sons and daughters

Increased risk of cancers for the DES-exposed

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DiEthylStilbestrol usage review buttress the need for adequate and rigorous research into the use of drugs in pregnancy and ensure that they do more good than harm before being introduced for consumption.

2002 Study Abstract

Diethylstilbestrol (DES), the first orally active artificial estrogen ever developed, was prescribed to several million pregnant women during the 1940s through the 1960s in the mistaken belief that it reduced the risk of miscarriage.

In 1971, the US Food and Drug Administration contraindicated its use in pregnancy when DES was associated with the development of vaginal clear cell adenocarcinoma (CCA) in daughters exposed in utero.

In daughters whose mothers took DES during pregnancy, the drug has been associated with congenital malformations of the reproductive tract, fertility problems, a possible increased risk of cervical carcinoma in situ, and a presumed lifetime risk of vaginal and cervical CCA.

DES mothers have an increased risk of breast cancer (RR = 1.3).

DES sons have an increased prevalence of urogenital anomalies, and a possible increased risk of testicular cancer.

Sources and more information
  • DES exposure and the aging woman: mothers and daughters, Current women’s health reports, NCBI PMID: 12215312, 2002 Oct;2(5):390-3..
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