Before proceeding to evaluate the present status of diethylstilbestrol in clinical obstetrics and gynecology, let us observe where diethylstilbestrol fits into our therapeutic philosophy by briefly reviewing certain significant trends in reproductive physiology, especially as regards our conception of the so-called "sex" hormones estradiol, progesterone and testosterone. The guiding principle in these recent advances has been the premise that all biologic processes are essentially chemical in nature.
Basic in its significance was the demonstration that the steroid nucleus is not essential for gynecologic activity, because its implications are so broad and sweeping. In a series of investigations that forms one of the most fascinating chapters in modern medical annals, Dodds1 and his co-workers chemically dissected the steroid skeleton of estradiol in a search for the chemical moiety requisite for gynecogenic activity. Among the scores of nonsteroidal chemical substances evolved, a very potent gynecogen was discovered in 4-4′-diethyl-dihydroxy-stilbene, popularly known
ABARBANEL AR, ARANOW H, GOODFRIEND MJ. ADJUNCTIVE THERAPY WITH DIETHYLSTILBESTROL IN OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY: CRITICAL EVALUATION. JAMA. 1943;121(14):1123–1130. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840140007002
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