Synthesis and biochemical studies of 17-substituted androst-3-enes and 3,4-epoxyandrostanes as aromatase inhibitors

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A series of 5α-androst-3-enes and 3α,4α-epoxy-5α-androstanes were synthesized and tested for their abilities to inhibit aromatase in human placental microsomes. In these series the original C-17 carbonyl group was replaced by hydroxyl, acetyl and hydroxyimine groups. Inhibition kinetic analysis on the most potent steroid of these series revealed that it inhibits the enzyme in a competitive manner (IC50 = 6.5 μM). The achieved data pointed out the importance of the C-17 carbonyl group in the D-ring of the studied steroids as a structural feature required to reach maximum aromatase inhibitory activity. Further, at least one carbonyl group (C-3 or C-17) seems to be essential to effective aromatase inhibition.

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