Endocrine disrupting chemicals and carcinogenicity

Diethylstilbestrol is carcinogenic to humans

1999 Review Abstract

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC) seem to be different from classic environmental toxicants in several points:

  1. EDC operates during critical period (s) in the early stage of life characterized by rapid cell differentiation and organogenesis, leaving irreversible disruption thereof.
  2. EDC may not demonstrate any clear threshold in exerting its “toxicological” effects
  3. and EDCs may act synergistically or additively.

Except for few cases such as diethylstilbestrol causing cancer in female offspring, a clear cause effect relationship between cancers in humans and EDC is still hard to demonstrate. Thanks to continual epidemiological endeavors, a few reports suggests such relationship between prostate cancer and herbicides.

Because of its frequent association in incidence with inborn abnormalities of male reproductive organs such as undescended testis, hypospadias and degenerated quality of sperm, testicular cancer is suspected to have common or related pathogenesis with them. A hypothesis advanced by Carlsen et al was introduced.


  • Endocrine disrupting chemicals and carcinogenicity, Gan to kagaku ryoho. Cancer & chemotherapy, NCBI PubMed, PMID: 10065088, 1999.
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