Logo link
Des Follow-up Study Logo

The DES Follow-Up Study investigates the long-term health consequences associated with exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES). Since 1992, the National Cancer Institute, in collaboration with research centers throughout the United States has been conducting the DES Follow-Up Study of more than 21,000 mothers, daughters, and sons.

* The DES Action and DES Cancer Network links are not associated with NCI.

STUDY UPDATE: Prenatal DES Exposure and Common Adult Chronic Diseases

Dr. Rebecca Troisi is an epidemiologist in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute and a Principal Investigator on the DES Follow-up Study. In this paper she has explored the concern about the possible impact of estrogen-like substances found in the environment on a range of health conditions has spurred research in this area. Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is an example of an endocrine-disruptor, i.e. chemicals that interfere with the bodyís hormone system. While prenatal exposure to DES is known to increase certain reproductive risks, information on non-reproductive medical conditions are lacking. Continue reading


Special Thanks to Our Study Participants

The scientists and study coordinators at the National Cancer Institute and five study centers would like to thank each participant who completed the 2011 DES Follow-up Health Questionnaire. Your cooperation over the years and the information you have provided continues to allow the study of the effects of DES and possibility of new health risks. In addition to our appreciation for your continued support of this important research, we wish each of you a Happy and Healthy New Year in 2014.


Study of Genetic Markers in DES Exposed Daughters

Environmental scientists consider DES the ultimate model for studying the impact of exposure to environmental endocrine disruptors (chemicals that interfere with the bodyís hormone system) during fetal development. Over three decades of studies in laboratory animals have raised multiple possible biologic effects that could be responsible for the poor health outcomes seen in DES exposed daughters, with one of the most promising indicating that prenatal exposure to DES causes persistent epigenetic changes (epigenetic changes occur in the cells during fetal development and typically turn on or off genes). In addition, some studies in laboratory animals indicate a possible effect of DES on hormone concentrations in women who were prenatally exposed.

Researchers at the National Cancer Institute, Boston University and Dartmouth Medical School are attempting to study whether genetic changes and hormone concentrations differ between women who were and were not prenatally exposed to DES. Initially, a small pilot study of 60 women (30 who were exposed to DES and 30 who were not) is planned. Blood samples will be drawn from women participating in our long-term DES Follow-up Study of the health effects of DES exposure. If the study is successful (if women can be recruited and blood samples obtained), we plan to study this question in a larger group of women. The findings of this pilot study may have profound implications for the ways in which endocrine disruption in the fetus influences human health in later life.


Get Acrobat Reader
Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institue Accessibility | Viewing Files | FOIA