Testicular tumors in mice exposed in utero to diethylstilbestrol

It has been suggested that prenatal DES exposure is associated with development of testicular cancer in humans

Study Abstract, 1987

Treatment of pregnant women with diethylstilbestrol (DES) is associated with the subsequent development of reproductive tract abnormalities such as epididymal cysts, retained hypotrophic testes and sperm abnormalities in their male offspring. It recently has been suggested that prenatal DES exposure is associated with development of testicular seminoma in humans. Studies of in utero exposure of laboratory animals to DES are few, but previous reports from our laboratory have described several abnormalities in the reproductive tract of the mouse following prenatal DES exposure.

To study the possible association of testicular tumors and prenatal DES exposure in mice, pregnant outbred CD-1 mice were injected subcutaneously with daily doses of DES (100 micrograms./kg.) on days nine through 16 of gestation. DES-exposed and age-matched control male mice were sacrificed at 10 to 18 months of age and examined for testicular lesions.

In addition to the nonmalignant abnormalities reported in previous studies such as 91% cryptorchidism and degenerative changes, interstitial cell tumors were observed in nine mice among 277 mice treated prenatally with DES. Two of these lesions were benign tumors and five were interstitial cell carcinomas. Rete testis adenocarcinoma was seen also in 5% of these DES-treated animals and is described in another report. The overall incidence of testicular tumors is 8% in DES-exposed male mice. No comparable lesions were seen in 122 control male mice.

These results suggest that the testicular lesions that can occur following prenatal DES exposure include neoplasia. The combined prevalence of DES-induced tumors of the corpus testis and rete testis in mice suggests the male offspring may be more at risk for developing carcinoma of the reproductive tract than the female offspring.



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