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Cancer Lett. 1998 Nov 13;133(1):101-6.

Aromatase and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase inhibition by flavonoids.

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UPRES EA 1085, Biomolécules et cibles cellulaires tumorales - Prolifération cellulaire et inhibition enzymatique, Laboratoire de Biochimie, Faculté de Pharmacie, Limoges, France.


A method for estimating in the same assay both aromatase and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase activities in human placental microsomes using radiolabelled [1,2,6,7-3H]4-androstene-3,17-dione was proposed. In this assay, estrone (E1) and estradiol (E2) produced were separated by HPLC and estimated using a radioactive flow detector. Using this method, the inhibitory effect of various flavonoids, including flavone, flavanone and isoflavone, on the human placental aromatase and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase was studied. Flavonoids were shown to be potent inhibitors of both aromatase and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase activities. We found that 7-hydroxyflavone and apigenin are the most effective aromatase and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase inhibitors, respectively. Experiments showed that a hydroxyl group in position 7 was essential for anti-17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase activity. However, flavonoids with 7-methoxy or 8-hydroxyl groups on the A ring showed only anti-aromatase activity. Structure-activity relationships were discussed.

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