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Reprod Toxicol. 2017 Aug;71:71-77. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2017.04.009. Epub 2017 Apr 28.

Current perspective of diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure in mothers and offspring.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada; OMNI Research Group, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine, Ottawa, ON, Canada; Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Box 241, 501 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, K1H 8L6, Canada.
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada; Stollery Children's Hospital, 8440 112 St, Edmonton, AB, T6G2B7, Canada; Tianyou Hospital, Wuhan University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei, PR China. Electronic address:


Diethylstilbestrol (DES) was an orally active estrogen prescribed to the pregnant women to prevent miscarriages. DES is known as a 'biological time bomb' and long-term effects of DES have been recorded in the mothers exposed to DES and their offspring (DES-daughters and DES-sons). Adverse pregnancy outcomes, infertility, cancer, and early menopause have been discovered in women exposed to DES, and some events occur in their offspring and subsequent generations. An increased risk of breast cancer is not limited to the DES-exposed daughters. There is an urgent need to find ways to stop the inheritance cycle of DES and prevent adverse effects of DES in the future generations. The present article reviews the health implications of DES exposure and screening exams currently recommended to DES daughters and their offspring.


Cancer; Congenital birth defects; Diethylstibestrol; First trimester; Pregnancy loss

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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