DES and tumors in the area of the rete testis

Cellular and molecular effects of developmental exposure to diethylstilbestrol: implications for other environmental estrogens, 1995

Abstracts

Studies with the potent synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol (DES) suggest that exogenous estrogen exposure during critical stages of development can result in permanent cellular and molecular alterations in the exposed organism. (DES-linked) abnormalities include breast cancer, endometriosis, fibroids, and uterine adenocarcinoma in females, as well as alterations in sex differentiation, decreased sperm concentrations, benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostatic cancer, testicular cancer, and reproductive problems in males.

Testis Cancer

The identification of tumors in the area of the rete testis is exceptionally rare; in fact, rete testis tumors have been reported infrequently in the clinical literature and in experimental animals. It is interesting that treatment of pregnant CD-1 mice with DES (100 pg/kg) resulted in rete testis adenocarcinoma in 5% of their male offspring. The high incidence of retained testis in mice (92%) following prenatal DES exposure and the occurrence of the rare rete testis adenocarcinoma raise the possibility of an association between prenatal DES exposure and the incidence of cryptorchidism and rete testis cancer.

Although cryptorchidism resulted in decreased or lack of spermatogenesis in male mice, inactivity alone could not account for the higher prevalence of rete cancer because several of the mice with the tumor had spermatogenesis occurring in the same testis. In addition to rete cancer, increased incidence of lesions of the corpus testis and Mullerian duct remnants were also seen. Since these lesions were observed in high-dose DES males, males receiving lower DES doses are being followed for increased cancer risk, although their fertility was not significantly affected.

References

  • Cellular and molecular effects of developmental exposure to diethylstilbestrol: implications for other environmental estrogens, Environmental health perspectives, NCBI PubMed, PMC1518878, 1995.
  • Featured image pexels.
DES DIETHYLSTILBESTROL RESOURCES

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