ABSTRACT: Risk of breast cancer in women exposed to diethylstilbestrol
in utero: preliminary results (United States)
BACKGROUND: A synthetic estrogen, diethylstilbestrol (DES),
was widely prescribed to pregnant women during the 1950s and 1960s
but was later discovered to be associated with an increased risk
of clear-cell carcinoma of the vagina and cervix in female
DES has not been linked to other cancers in female
offspring, but studies of other prenatal factors such as twin
gestation and pre-eclampsia have indicated that in-utero estrogen
levels may influence breast cancer risk. We evaluated the relation
of in-utero DES exposure to the risk of adult breast cancer.
FINDINGS: The rate ratio for incidence of invasive breast cancer
in exposed versus unexposed women was 1.4 (95% confidence
interval (CI) = 0.7-2.6). DES exposure was not associated with
an increased risk of breast cancer in women under 40 years,
but among women aged 40 and older the rate ratio was 2.5
(95% CI = 1.0-6.3). The rate ratio for the association of DES
exposure with estrogen receptor-positive tumors was 1.9 (95%
CI = 0.8.4.5).
INTERPRETATION: While not statistically significant, the overall
40% excess risk, arising exclusively from the subset of estrogen
receptor-positive cases, raises a concern calling for continued
[09/19/2002; Cancer Causes and Control]
J Cancer Epidem, Biomar & Preventn
Press Release, AACR August 2006
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