N-Phenyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline: an alternative scaffold for design of 17-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 inhibitors

Barry Potter, Marco Mottinelli, M P Leese

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17β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases catalyse interconversion at the C17 position between oxidized and reduced forms of steroidal nuclear receptor ligands. The type 1 enzyme, expressed in malignant cells, catalyses reduction of the less active estrone to estradiol and inhibitors have therapeutic potential in estrogen-dependent diseases such as breast and ovarian cancers and in endometriosis. Synthetic decoration of the nonsteroidal N-phenyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline (THIQ) template was pursued using Pomeranz-Fritsch-Bobbitt, Pictet-Spengler and Bischler-Napieralski approaches to explore the viability of this scaffold as a steroid mimic. Derivatives were evaluated biologically in vitro as type 1 enzyme inhibitors in a bacterial cell homogenate as source of recombinant protein. Structure-activity relationships are discussed. THIQs possessing a 6-hydroxyl group, lipophilic substitutions at the 1- or 4- positions in combination with N-4′-chlorophenyl substitution were most favourable for activity. Of these, one compound had an IC50 of ca. 350 nM as a racemate, testifying to the applicability of this novel approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-291
Issue number1
Early online date5 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2021


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