Insights from a tragedy, European journal of epidemiology, 2012
Recent evidence indicates that in utero exposure to DES is also linked to breast cancer in women over the age of 40 years. This evidence provides support to the hypothesis that in utero exposures may affect breast cancer risk in adult life.
Women were exposed during a well-defined and vulnerable intra-uterine period to a potent synthetic estrogen, which crosses the placenta and was often given in high doses escalating from the 7th to the 35th week of pregnancy according to a fixed regimen.
A wealth of experimental data illustrates numerous conceivable mechanisms whereby DES could interfere with cellular processes and disrupt normal breast development. Hence, the landmark NCI study – see here and here – provides the first direct evidence that breast cancer risk in adulthood is indeed influenced by an exposure entirely confined to the intra-uterine period.
- Breast cancer following diethylstilbestrol exposure in utero: insights from a tragedy, European journal of epidemiology, NCBI PubMed PMID: 22286719, 2012 Jan.
- Featured image credit