History of the Synthesis of Diethylstilbestrol
In the 1930s, some scientists managed to isolate and characterize estrogen hormones. They discover that there are five: estrone1, estriol, estradiol2, equilin and equilenin, all of which have biological activity.
Based on this discovery, they then sought to produce a simple estrogenic substance with similar activity3.
They discover that natural estrogens contain a phenanthrene nucleus. They then prepare derivatives in order to administer them to ovariectomized rats (OVX) to carry out experiments. One of these derivatives has a very important estrogenic activity (EA). They note that changes in the structure of the vagina, under the influence of oestrus, look like the proliferation caused by an application of carcinogenic hydrocarbon.