Alton Evening Telegraph from Alton, Illinois on August 31, 1972 · Page 18
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Alton Evening Telegraph from Alton, Illinois · Page 18

Alton, Illinois
Issue Date:
Thursday, August 31, 1972
Page 18
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Page 18 article text (OCR)

B-4 Altai Evening Telegraph Thursday, August 31 1H72 Connection between hormone, cancer By BERNARD GAVZER CHICAGO (AP) — A syn- ttietic female horntom ~ recently associated with cancer — was given to 84.1 pregnant women in 1950-52 as part of a clinical experiment of which they were unaware. The hormone is diethylslil- bestroL, also called DBS or stilbestrol. In wholly unconnected tests two decades later, three Boston researchers found "a highly significant association" between DES and vaginal cancer among seven young girls whose mothers took the drug during their pregnancies. One girl died. On Aug. 2, the Food and Drug Administration banned all production of DES for use in animal feeds because A turned up in the tissue of animals slaughtered for food. Researchers had also reported that DES caused cancer in some experimental animals. At the time of the Chicago experiment, physicians had no reason to suspect. DES of cancer-causing potential in the patients' children. Dr. Charles McCartney, who participated in the experiment, said its purpose was to determine whether DES was really helpful in preventing complications of pregnancy, as was widely believed then. The answer from the experiment was negative, he said. Record-keeping o n the women involved now makes It possible to locate many of them, and any daughters who might be at risk. The daughters could have frequent, checkups to detect any early symptoms of trouble. Or the followup could help determine whether such use of DES actually does create a cancer risk, the physician said. The study was conducted at the University of Chicago's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology among patients at Chicago's Lying-in HospiU from Sept. 28, 1950, through Nov. 20,1952. As each woman registered at the hospital's prenatal clinic during that period, she 'was automatically entered into the experiment. There were 2,162 in all, but the group was subsequently reduced to 1,646. Of these, S4(? were given DES. The others received placebos, or tablets containing no drugs. Not even clinicians who attended the women knew which tablets had DES because they were concealed in a code. Describing the experiment at the time, the researchers said it was designed so "()> that patients and staff shoii'd have no knowledge of thr; medication on trial; (2) that a similar group of patients should receive placebo medication which is not discernible from 'he medication on trial; and (3} that the two groups of patients must be treated simultaneously and as nearly alike as possible." The chief author of the report was the late Dr. William J. Dieckmann, chairman of tht Departmen* of Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as chief of staff of the hospital. He died in 1957. Dr. McCartney, who participated in the experiment, said Dr. Dicrkmann urged the study because "thousands of women were taking stilbestrol and a great deal was written about the increased salvage rate in high-risk pregnancies, particularly with patients with diabetes and those with threatened abortions. "Dr. Dieckmann was skeptical of the reports and designed an experiment to test the hypothesis. Our question was, 'Does It (DES) do any good?' Our answer was, 'No.' " Dr. McCartney said the experiment was conducted in an era In which there was "no such thing as Informed consent." "At Hie time of the experiment, there was nothing known about the malignancy potential of this material," he said. "Indeed, this still has to be determined." The job of tracking down the women Involved in the experiment and their children has fallen to Dr. Frederick P. Zuspan, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and chief of staff at Chicago Lying-in. Zuspan did not take part in the experiment. Officials at Chicago Lying- in declined to answer questions about the experiment, and directed all inquiries to Zuspan. "I can answer no questions regarding the study or plans for a follow-up," Zuspan said. However, a follow-up is in the works. A Chicago mother who was involved in the experiment said: "I first learned of it when I received a letter from the university dated Aug. 8, 1972. I had never been told I was part of an experiment." She does not know whether she received DES or the blank tablets. Her daughter, who will be 21 in October, has had only one serious illness and that resulted from a ruptured appendix. It was learned 1.600 letters had been sent over Zuspan's signature. The letter says: "Dr. William Dieckmann and others conducted a study on the use of diethylstilbestrol (the estrogen female hormone) during pregnancy. This study was conducted while Destroying 3,000 hogs FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) A task force of veterinarians and animal inspectors plan to destroy 3,fJOO hogs in Warren County today to help curb an outbreak of hog cholera. The outbreak of the highly contagious disease, which occurs only in swine, has so far affected three states. An estimated 29,000 hogs, in Kentucky have been infected with or exposed to the disease. More than 1,800 hogs have been exterminated already, state Agriculture Commissioner Wendell Butler said Tuesday. The outbreak in Kentucky began more than a week ago. Hog cholera has since been detected in Ohio and in two herds in Indiana. Ohio has exterminated 648 hogs so far, and some 2,000 swine reported infected with the disease or exposed to it in Indiana were to be slain by today. Colonel Discount Dan SEZ STOP AND SAVE at SPEEDWING DISCOUNT CENTER 2916 E. BROADWAY 9 to B Mon. thru Sat—12-6 p.m. Sun. "LADIES ESPECIALLY INVITED" LADIES BLOUSES (with lie) LADIES' SKOOTER SKIRTS $2" OIL FILTERS 89c & UP LADIES' SLEEVELKSS Tank Tops LITTLE GIRL'S Short Sets AIR FILTERS $ | 67 & UP LADIES JAMAICAS $29 Ladies Raincoats LADIES SCARVES 19c (Lfmit 2) AUTO MUFFLERS l-U. LADIES SLACKS KLAREO LEG »UTO SHOCKS Ett. QUAKtK STATE Motor Oil 42c Qt IGNITION TUNE-UP KITS $ 67 & L'P PRESTONE Anti-Rust 59c PRESTONE Motor* Flush 59c CHECK <>L'K GASOLINE DISCOUNT! you were a patient in the Outpatient Department of Chicago Lying-in Hospital. Our records indicate that you participated in this Important study. "We are now routinely following up all offspring of participants. It would be greatly appreciated if you would give us your daughter's present address so that we may contact her ... " The first indication there might be some association between DES-treated molhen and the occurrence of vagina! cancer in their daughters was contained in a report Apr! 22, 1971, In the New England Journal of Medicine Drs. Arthur Herbst. Howard U 1 f e 1 d e r and David Poskanzer, working at Vincent Memorial Hospital, wer" mystified by seven cases of vaginal cancer which came to tJie hospital's attention during the period 1966-69. The. patients' ages ranged from 15 to 22. This was considered rare. In the detective wo-k that followed, the investigators sought a variety of explanations and discovered that in each case, the mother had been treated with DES during pregnancy. The scientists then reported: "There is a highly significant association bet- ween the treatment of the mothers with estrogen diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy and the subsequent development of adenocarct- noma of the vagina In their daughters." They said, "Th* time of birth of these patients (1948 to 1951) coincides with the beginning of widespread use of estrogens in support of high-risk pregnancy.... "Although the chance of de- velopment of these tumors appears to be very small, the results of this study suggest that it is unwise to administer stilbestrol to women early in pregnancy." The women who participated in the Chicago experiment were given doses o* DES early in pregnancy and the dosage was increased regularly. Diethylstilbestrol is still In use in a variety of brand name drugs. It is prescribe^ primarily for cancer of th? prostate in men, and for menopausal symptoms in women, and in some cases for treatment of breast cartcc'.' in women. In some drugs it is combined with male hormones. Women involved In the Chicago research were not the only ones being given DES during that period. In 1951, two Boston obstetri- cian-gynecologists, Drs. 0. W. Smith and G. van S. Smith, had recommended that Increasing doses of diethylstilbestrol be routinely administered to all women during pregnancy to prevent or decrease hazards of late complications for mothers and babies. It was this and other recommendations for DES that prompted Dieckmann's project. Quality Discount. Shopping l«* <* *GL ft ? tt 111* 5 88 ' »' R , 9 . To.79 « * GIF Guaranteed Lowest Price on these advertised items dining sale 01 your money back! Reg. To 2.99 Girls' Sportswear Buy 2! Save up to 2.98 S For •GLP Bonded Acrylic Plaid Jumpers & Skirts 4-14 Bonded Acrylic Slacks Print, Solid, Plaid 4-14 Polo Shirts 4-14 Acrylic & Cotton Knit Blouses & Shirts 4-14 Permanent Press- Long Sleeve Come early for best choice! Dresses 88 'GLP rs i jacket [Pie, brown, black' \Vz-24y 2 uia ^K. Jops, S-L 4.66 • Reg. To 15.99 Fall Sport Coats Save To 5.99 f':l'M Men's Double Knit Pants Men's Dress Shirts |88 Reg. 4fr66 Reg. To 12.97 Reg. 3.57 'GLP 'GLP Patterns, solids. 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