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October 20, 1945

Foreign Letters

JAMA. 1945;129(8):567-568. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860420035019

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LONDON  (From Our Regular Correspondent)Sept. 15, 1945.

Synthetic Estrogens in Malignant Disease  Prof. E. C. Dodds, who discovered the synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol, has reviewed the present status of synthetic estrogens in malignant disease in the West London Medical Journal. The fact that the female sex hormone responsible for secondary sexual characteristics can exist in three forms— estrone, estriol and estradiol—suggested to him the possibility of producing estrogens synthetically. These could be given by mouth. The first evidence that estrogens might influence the course of malignant disease was produced by Kaufmann in 1935, when he showed the beneficial effect of natural estrogens on kraurosis vulvae. This effect on a precancerous condition is perhaps the first indication of the value of these estrogens in malignant disease. But it is in carcinoma of the prostate that the greatest interest in these substances has recently been shown. Nearly fifty years ago castration for

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