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J Med Chem. 2000 Jun 15;43(12):2419-29.

Synthesis of B-ring homologated estradiol analogues that modulate tubulin polymerization and microtubule stability.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy and Pharmacal Sciences, and Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA.


2-Methoxyestradiol is a cytotoxic human metabolite of estradiol with the ability to bind to the colchicine site of tubulin and inhibit its polymerization, and its 2-ethoxy analogue is even more potent. On the basis of a hypothetical relationship between the structures of colchicine and 2-methoxyestradiol, a B-ring-expanded 2-ethoxyestradiol analogue was synthesized in which the B-ring of the steroid is replaced by the B-ring of colchicine. The synthesis relied on the B-ring expansion of available 6-keto estradiol derivatives as opposed to a total synthesis of the homologated steroid framework. The relative configurations of the acetamido substituents in both epimers of the final product were determined by NOESY NMR and confirmed by X-ray crystallography. The epimer having the 6alpha-acetamido substituent was more active as an inhibitor of tubulin polymerization, and it was also more cytotoxic than the 6beta-epimer. These results are consistent with the proposed structural resemblance of 2-methoxyestradiol and colchicine. Several of the synthetic intermediates proved to be potent inhibitors of tubulin polymerization. On the other hand, a 3,17beta-diacetylated, B-ring-expanded analogue of 2-ethoxyestradiol having a ketone at C-6 resembled paclitaxel (Taxol) in its ability to enhance tubulin polymerization and stabilize microtubules. The corresponding 3-acetate and the 17beta-acetate were both synthesized, and it was determined that the 17beta-acetate, but not the 3-acetate, conferred on the steroid derivative its paclitaxel-like activity.

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