The written obstetric records of maternal exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) were used as a criterion standard and compared with the DES exposure history recalled by mothers of women with vaginal, cervical, or indeterminable vaginal/exocervical clear cell adenocarcinoma.
Among cervical cases, the sensitivity of maternal recall was 50% (N = 2), and its specificity was 100%. Among vaginal and vaginal/exocervical cases, this sensitivity was 72%; specificity was 60%; and the majority of these mothers who said they did not take DES were DES positive by written records.
Thus investigators should avoid using maternal recall alone to measure DES exposure. Among subjects for whom written maternal obstetric records were available, 88% of vaginal cases and 46% of cervical cases were DES positive. The authors conclude that few cases of vaginal clear cell adenocarcinoma should occur in young women as the cohort of women exposed in utero to DES continues to age, whereas cases of cervical origin may continue to occur..
Sources: Clear cell adenocarcinoma of the lower genital tract. Correlation of mother’s recall of diethylstilbestrol history with obstetrical records, NCBI, Dr Herbst A, Nov 1990