A synthetic nonsteroidal estrogen used in the treatment of menopausal and postmenopausal disorders. It was also used formerly as a growth promoter in animals. According to the Fourth Annual Report on Carcinogens (NTP 85-002, 1985), diethylstilbestrol has been listed as a known carcinogen. (Merck, 11th ed)
Used in the treatment of prostate cancer. Previously used in the prevention of miscarriage or premature delivery in pregnant women prone to miscarriage or premature delivery.
Diethylstilbestrol is a synthetic estrogen that was developed to supplement a woman's natural estrogen production. In 1971, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Drug Bulletin advising physicians to stop prescribing DES to pregnant women because it was linked to a rare vaginal cancer in female offspring.
Mechanism of action
Estrogens diffuse into their target cells and interact with a protein receptor, the estrogen receptor. Target cells include the female reproductive tract, the mammary gland, the hypothalamus, and the pituitary. The effect of Estrogen binding their receptors causes downstream increases the hepatic synthesis of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), thyroid-binding globulin (TBG), and other serum proteins and suppress follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) from the anterior pituitary. The combination of an estrogen with a progestin suppresses the hypothalamic-pituitary system, decreasing the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH).