Mortality in women given diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy

Br J Cancer. 2006 Jul 3;95(1):107-11. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6603221. Epub 2006 Jun 20.


We used Cox regression analyses to assess mortality outcomes in a combined cohort of 7675 women who received diethylstilbestrol (DES) through clinical trial participation or prenatal care. In the combined cohort, the RR for DES in relation to all-cause mortality was 1.06 (95% CI = 0.98-1.16), and 1.11 (95% CI = 1.02-1.21) after adjusting for covariates and omitting breast cancer deaths. The RR was 1.07 (95% CI = 0.94-1.23) for overall cancer mortality, and remained similar after adjusting for covariates and omitting breast cancer deaths. The RR was 1.27 (95% CI = 0.96-1.69) for DES and breast cancer, and 1.38 (95% CI=1.03-1.85) after covariate adjustment. The RR was 1.82 in trial participants and 1.12 in the prenatal care cohort, but the DES-cohort interaction was not significant (P = 0.15). Diethylstilbestrol did not increase mortality from gynaecologic cancers. In summary, diethylstilbestrol was associated with a slight but significant increase in all-cause mortality, but was not significantly associated with overall cancer or gynaecological cancer mortality. The association with breast cancer mortality was more evident in trial participants, who received high DES doses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diethylstilbestrol / administration & dosage
  • Diethylstilbestrol / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Regression Analysis
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Diethylstilbestrol