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Steroid sulphatase is a target enzyme of growing therapeutic importance. The synthesis and in vitro biological evaluation of three novel 2-substituted analogues of oestrone 3-O-sulphamate (EMATE), an established steroid sulphatase inhibitor, are described. One inhibitor, 2-difluoromethyloestrone 3-O-sulphamate (6), was found to have an IC50 of 100 pM and be some 90-fold more potent than EMATE in inhibiting steroid sulphatase activity in a placental microsomal preparation, rendering this agent the most potent steroidal STS inhibitor in vitro reported to date. Lowering of the pKa value of the leaving parent steroid phenol by the 2-difluoromethyl group during irreversible enzyme sulphamoylation most likely facilitates the potent inactivation of steroid sulphatase by (6). However, our preliminary molecular docking studies using the X-ray crystal structure of steroid sulphatase suggest that F.......H interactions between the 2-difluoromethyl group of (6) and hydrogen bond donor residues lining the catalytic site of STS might also contribute to the high potency observed for (6).

Original publication




Journal article


Biochem Biophys Res Commun

Publication Date





169 - 175


Binding Sites, Enzyme Inhibitors, Estrone, Humans, Hydrogen Bonding, Inhibitory Concentration 50, Microsomes, Models, Molecular, Placenta, Steryl-Sulfatase