DES doses relevant to pregnant women increased later risk of developing mammary tumors

Transplacental action of diethylstilbestrol on mammary carcinogenesis in female rats given one or two doses of 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene

1983 Study Abstract

Aspects of the development, morphology, and estrogen binding capacity of mammary tumors in rats exposed prenatally to the synthetic estrogen, diethylstilbestrol (DES), and treated postnatally with 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA) were analyzed as part of a project aimed at understanding the effects of transplacental exposure to DES on estrogen-sensitive tissues.

Pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats were given injections of DES (total dose, 1.2 micrograms) or vehicle alone on Days 15 and 18 of gestation. All female offspring were given gastric intubations of DMBA, either a single 10-mg dose on Day 50 or two doses (10 mg each) on Days 50 and 57.

Among rats treated postnatally with 10 mg of DMBA, the DES-exposed group had a significantly greater incidence of palpable mammary tumors than did the vehicle-exposed controls. In addition, there was an earlier time of appearance of palpable tumors in the DES-exposed group.

When the data from rats treated postnatally with two 10-mg doses of DMBA were analyzed, there were no significant differences in palpable mammary tumor incidence or tumor latency between the DES-exposed and vehicle-exposed groups.

When the pathology of the mammary tumors produced in rats treated with 10 mg of DMBA was analyzed, the DES-exposed group had a significantly higher proportion of benign tumors (fibroadenoma, adenoma, lobular hyperplasia) than adenocarcinomata compared to vehicle-exposed controls. Both exposure groups had similar numbers of nonpalpable mammary lesions discovered at necropsy.

Estrogen binding capacities of representative adenocarcinomata did not differ significantly between the two prenatal exposure groups treated postnatally with 10 mg of DMBA.

These results demonstrate the importance of the dose of the challenge carcinogen in revealing the effects of transplacental drug exposure and may have special significance for women who were exposed to DES in utero.

Sources

  • Transplacental action of diethylstilbestrol on mammary carcinogenesis in female rats given one or two doses of 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene, Cancer research, NCBI PubMed PMID: 6411335, 1983 Oct.
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