Cancer Risk in Women Exposed to Diethylstilbestrol in Utero
EE Hatch, JR Palmer, et al (Natl Cancer Inst, Bethesda, Md; Boston Univ; Dartmouth-Hitchcock Med Ctr, Lebanon, NH; et al)
JAMA 280 : 630-634, 1998
Introduction – A strong association between diethylstilbestrol (DES) use in pregnancy and the occurrence of vaginal clear cell adenocarcinoma in female offspring has been reported in 1971.
Method – Questionnaires were mailed to 4536 DES-exposed women and 1544 unexposed women first identified in the mid-1970s.
Results – An increased risk for all cancers was not found among DES exposed women, nor was there an increased risk for individual cancer sites, except for clear cell adenocarcinoma.
Conclusion drawn from this study is that exposed women included in this study were a mean of 38 years; therefore, continued surveillance is warranted to determine whether any increases in cancer risk occur during the menopausal years.
Editorial comment: clinicians should be aware that vaginal clear cell adenocarcinomas are being observed in the DES-exposed up to the age of 48 years. The above cohort was, on average, only 38 years of age at the time of follow-up, so it will be important to follow these individuals for many years to understand their health risks.