3,20-Dihydroxy-13α-19-norpregna-1,3,5(10)-trienes. Synthesis, structures, and cytotoxic, estrogenic, and antiestrogenic effects

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Graphical abstractHighlightsSeries of 3,20-dihydroxy-13α-19-norpregna-1,3,5(10)-trienes were synthesized, their structures were characterized.Target compounds are cytotoxic against MCF-7 and NCI/ADR-RES.Target compounds exert dissimilar effects on ERα transcriptional activity.Docking studies showed that compounds can bind to ERα but their binding modes are different.New 3,20-dihydroxy-13α-19-norpregna-1,3,5(10)-trienes were synthesized. The effects of these compounds on breast cancer cells and ERα activation were investigated. The scaffold of compounds containing the six-membered ring D′ annulated at 16α,17α-positions was constructed via the Lewis acid catalyzed Diels-Alder reaction of butadiene with 3-methoxy-13α-19-norpregna-1,3,5(10),16-tetraen-20-one 5 under a pressure of 600 MPa. The hydrogenation of primary cyclohexene adduct 6 followed by the one-pot reduction–demethylation (DIBAH) gave target epimeric 3,20-dihydroxy steroids 8a and 8b. The Corey-Chaykovsky reaction of the same conjugated ketone 5 gave a 16α,17α-methylene-substituted compound. The reaction of the latter with DIBAH yielded 3,20(R,S)-dihydroxy-16α,17α-methyleno-13α-19-norpregna-1,3,5(10)-triene 10. The hydrogenation of the 16,17-double bond of compound 5 produced a mixture of 17α- and 17β-epimeric ketones, reduction–demethylation of which gave 3,20(S)-dihydroxy-13α,17α-19-norpregna-1,3,5(10)-triene 12a and 3,20(R)-dihydroxy-13α,17β-19-norpregna-1,3,5(10)-triene 12b. All compounds were fully characterized by 1D and 2D NMR, HRMS, and X-ray diffraction. All target compounds showed pronounced cytotoxic effect against MCF-7 breast cancer cells and NCI/ADR-RES doxorubicin-resistant cells at micromolar concentrations. The ERα-mediated luciferase reporter gene assay demonstrated that all compounds, except for compound 10, are ERα inhibitors, while cyclopropane compound 10 proved to be an ERα activator. Docking experiments showed that all compounds are well accommodated to LBD ERα but have some differences in the binding mode.

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