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Cancer Causes Control. 2010 Jul;21(7):999-1007. doi: 10.1007/s10552-010-9526-5. Epub 2010 Mar 4.

Cancer risk in DES daughters.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Netherlands Cancer Institute, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



We examined long-term risk of cancer in women exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) in utero.


A total of 12,091 DES-exposed women in the Netherlands were followed prospectively from December 1992 till June 2008. Cancer incidence was assessed through linkage with the Dutch pathology database (PALGA) and the Netherlands Cancer Registry and compared with the Dutch female population.


A total of 348 medically verified cancers occurred; median age at end of follow-up was 44.0 years. No overall increased risk of cancer was found (standardized incidence ratio [SIR] = 1.01; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.91, 1.13). The risk of clear cell adenocarcinoma of the vagina and cervix (CCA) was statistically significantly increased (SIR = 24.23; 95% CI = 8.89, 52.74); the elevated risk persisted above 40 years of age. The risk of melanoma diagnosed before age 40 was increased (SIR = 1.59; 95% CI = 1.08, 2.26). No excess risks were found for other sites, including breast cancer.


Except for an elevated risk of CCA, persisting at older ages, and an increased risk of melanoma at young ages, we found no increased risk of cancer. Longer follow-up is warranted to examine cancer risk at ages when cancer occurs more frequently.

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