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September 30, 1974

Diethylstilbestrol Exposure And Lymphocytic Impairment

JAMA. 1974;229(14):1863. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230520011002

To the Editor.—  The recent report1 by Dr. Edward Shmunes, at the AMA Convention in Chicago, of the occurrence of gynecomastia, loss of libido, and hypospermia in chemical workers following accidental exposure to diethylstilbestrol suggested to us that communication of some preliminary results of studies in progress in our laboratory would be of interest.It is well documented that administration of sex hormones, particularly estrogens, may result in alterations of lymphoid tissue and nonspecific as well as specific factors of cellularand humoral-mediated immunologic responsiveness (salient references2). The effects of such therapy, notably in patients with hormonally dependent tumors, eg, of the breast and prostate, on the immunologic responsiveness of the host to malignant neoplasms have not, however, clearly been delineated. In this regard, our studies, although of a preliminary nature, have pointed to the suppression of one factor of cell-mediated immunologic competence thus far evaluated, that is, the ability