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The role of aromatase inhibitors in the treatment of hormone-dependent breast cancer is well established. However, it is now recognised that steroid sulphatase (STS) inhibitors represent a new form of endocrine therapy. To explore the potential advantage of dual inhibition by a single agent, we recently developed a series of dual aromatase-sulphatase inhibitors (DASIs) based on the aromatase inhibitor YM511. We report here a new structural class of DASI obtained by obtained introducing the pharmacophore for STS inhibition, i.e. a phenol sulphamate ester into another established aromatase inhibitor letrozole. Hence, the bis-sulphamate 9 was synthesised which exhibited IC(50) values of 3044 nM for aromatase and >10 microM for STS in JEG-3 cells. However, at a single oral dose of 10mg/kg, 9 inhibited aromatase and rat liver STS by 60% and 88%, respectively, 24h after administration. A proposed metabolite of 9, carbinol 10, was synthesised. Despite also showing weak STS inhibition in JEG-3 cells, 10 inhibited rat liver STS activity to the same extent as 9 at a single oral dose of 10mg/kg. Thus, the concept of a letrozole-based DASI has been validated and could be further developed and modified for therapeutic exploitation.

Original publication




Journal article


J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol

Publication Date





123 - 130


Aromatase Inhibitors, Enzyme Inhibitors, Indicators and Reagents, Nitriles, Sulfatases, Triazoles