Risks of malignant disease and congenital malformations, 1979

DES Sons : malignant lesions have not been reported.

1979 Abstract

The Department of National Health and Welfare’s special advisory committee are closely monitoring women, who used DES (diethylstilbestrol) for protection of pregnancy, and their offspring.

DES daughters have an increased risk of benign abnormalities of the genital tract and, infrequently, vaginal or cervical cancer.

Prenatal exposure of males to DES have shown a low frequency of epidiymal cysts, hypoplastic testes, induration of the testicular capsule, and impairment of spermatogenesis, sperm maturation, and accessory gland secretion.

Women who used DES during their pregnancy may possibly have an increased risk of breast cancer although the incidence is not statistically significant.

The advisory committee recommends that DES and other estrogenic drugs not be used during pregnancy for treatment of threatened abortion due to the possible abnormalities of the fetus. Instead the committee suggests that DES be used for patients with estrogen-responsive metastatic breast cancer or advanced prostate cancer.


  • Diethylstilbestrol: risks of malignant disease and congenital malformations, Canadian Medical Association journal, NCBI PubMed, PMID: 455196, 1979. Full text PDF.
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