Androgens are growth factors for approximately 80 percent of all prostate cancers. Suppressing androgen biosynthesis is therefore an important therapeutic strategy in order to inhibit tumor growth. Unfortunately, the drugs currently applied to lower androgen levels only affect testicular androgen production. Since androgens are also synthesized in the adrenal glands, tumor stimulation cannot be blocked completely. A new therapeutic target, CYP 17 (P450 17, 17alpha-hydroxylase-C17, C20 lyase), is likely to improve this situation. CYP 17 is a P450 enzyme and catalyzes the last step of androgen biosynthesis in both testes and adrenals. Inhibition of this enzyme will therefore result in a complete block of androgen production. This paper gives an overview of the current situation in this novel field of drug research and focuses on the development of steroidal and non-steroidal inhibitors of CYP 17.