Clear cell adenocarcinoma of the vagina and cervix: incidence, undetected disease, and diethylstilbestrol.
We conducted an incidence study to determine the occurrence rates of clear cell adenocarcinoma (CCAC) of the vagina and cervix in young women (born in 1940 and thereafter), and a case-series analysis, focusing on the maternal history of pregnancy and delivery and in-utero exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES). Overall, 10 cases of CCAC had been listed in the files of the Connecticut State Tumor Registry prior to the study, and each of the 10 cases were confirmed as valid. In addition, another 10 cases, all previously undetected, were found after the tissue slides of young women listed as having other cancers of the vagina and cervix were reviewed by expert pathologists, suggesting that prior estimates of the incidence rate for CCAC must be misleading unless special efforts are taken to identify undetected cases. The incidence rates of vaginal CCAC (11 cases total) were highest in 1975-1979, and decreased slightly during 1980-1982. In the cervix (nine cases total), the rate increased consistently since 1970. History of in-utero exposure to diethylstilbestrol was obtained for five of eight vaginal cases and four of eight cervical cases of CCAC. In all nine cases, exposure to diethylstilbestrol was associated with a history of bleeding during the pregnancy or prior miscarriage. We conclude that the finding of stable (or rising) incidence rates for CCAC occurring nearly 30 years after the marked decrease in diethylstilbestrol sales emphasizes the need for continued clinical and epidemiologic studies of the etiology and clinical course of CCAC.
Horwitz, RI; Viscoli, CM; Merino, M; Brennan, TA; Flannery, JT; Robboy, SJ
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