Although previous laboratory animal studies found cancer of the uterus and cervix in female offspring of DES Daughters, thus far, few studies have focused on health problems in third-generation humans (the offspring of DES Daughters and Sons). This article is a preliminary report from an ongoing study of third-generation DES health effects.
The researchers recruited DES Daughters who participated in the National Collaborative Diethylstilbestrol Adenosis (DESAD) cohort study. Twenty-six DES Daughters agreed to participate with their daughters. Each of the 28 third-generation daughters filled out a questionnaire and had a gynecological examination, during which the pelvis, abdomen, breasts, and cervix were inspected, a colposcopy of the cervix and vagina was performed, a cervical-vaginal smear was obtained from the upper vagina and the cervix, and an iodine staining of the vagina and cervix was performed. The results of this examination were compared with the same type of examination performed on their mothers (DES Daughters) during the earlier DESAD study.
In the previous DESAD study, researchers found that 16 of the 26 DES Daughters had cervical or vaginal changes. In the current study of third-generation daughters, no abnormalities of the lower genital tract were detected. However, the researchers cautioned that the sample size of 26 DES Daughters and 28 third-generation daughters was too small to detect an increased risk of genital tract abnormalities.
A second limitation of this study was the age of the participants. A mean age for the third-generation daughters of 20.1 years (age range: 15-28 years) may have been too young to detect CCA, which is more often found in older unexposed women. A third limitation of this study was the possibility that results were biased by the self-selection of participants. Only 26 of 70 eligible DES Daughters and 28 of their third-generation daughters participated in this study. These women may not be representative of all eligible participants. However, most women who did not participate declined because they were unavailable or had been told by a gynecologist that they did not have abnormalities.
Citation: Kaufman RH, Adam E. Findings in female offspring of women exposed in utero to diethylstilbestrol. Obstet Gynecol 2002;99:197-200.