Prenatal diethylstilbestrol exposure and self-reported immune-related diseases

A. J.J.M. Vingerhoets, J. Assies, K. Goodkin, G. L. Van Heck, M. H. Bekker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare self-reports of immune-related diseases in diethylstilbestrol (DES) daughters and controls. Prenatal exposure to DES has been associated with several malformations in the lower genital tract, a higher prevalence of adenosis, and increased risk of clear cell adenocarcinoma, and estrogen-dependent tumors. Lately, reports have been published indicating a link between DES exposure and alterations in the immune system. The present study focuses on the possible clinical consequences of an affected immune system. Study design: DES daughters (n=170) and control women (n=123) completed questionnaires containing lists of immune-related diseases, specified into three categories (i) allergies, (ii) auto-immune disorders, and (iii) infectious diseases. Results: DES daughters reported significantly more disease conditions than the controls. Analyses for separate disease categories (allergies, auto-immune disorders, infectious disease), yielded a statistically significant difference only for infectious disease. Within this last category, two infectious diseases yielded highly significant differences: bladder infection and measles. Conclusion: The present findings suggest that DES daughters are at higher risk of developing immune-related disease states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-209
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Immunity
  • Prenatal diethylstilbestrol exposure
  • Self-reported health status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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