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Lipids. 2000 Mar;35(3):271-7.

Design and synthesis of new steroidal inhibitors of estrogen synthase (aromatase).

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Auburn University, Alabama 36849-5312, USA.


The estrogen synthase (aromatase) enzyme system is responsible for the biosynthesis of estrogen hormones in human females. Estrogens are vital for normal growth and development, but will promote the growth of certain breast cancers. Approximately 30-50% of breast cancers are considered to be hormone-dependent. Consequently regulation of estrogen biosynthesis has advanced as a potential therapeutic strategy. This has led to the development of active-site inhibitors, which may have potential for the control of breast cancer. We have recently prepared a number of new steroidal inhibitors that have been evaluated as aromatase inhibitors. These include steroidal A/B-ring isoxazoles and a series of A/B-ring pyrazoles with alkyl- and aryl-substituted nitrogen. In addition, we have developed new chemical procedures for the synthesis of 6beta-hydroxy steroids, which could be key intermediates in the preparation of C-19 inhibitors of aromatase activity.

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