Azasteroids: structure-activity relationships for inhibition of 5 alpha-reductase and of androgen receptor binding

J Med Chem. 1986 Nov;29(11):2298-315. doi: 10.1021/jm00161a028.


A series of steroids, primarily 4-azasteroids, were prepared and tested in vitro as inhibitors of human and rat prostatic 5 alpha-reductase and of binding of dihydrotestosterone to the rat androgen receptor. The primary structural modifications were changes of the A ring and of moieties attached at the C-17 position of the steroid nucleus. New A-ring modifications included the 4-cyano-3-oxo-delta 4 system in the carbocyclic series and 1 alpha-CN, 1 alpha-CH3, 1 alpha,2 alpha-CH2, 2 beta-F, 2-aza, 2-oxa, and A-homo changes in the 3-oxo-4-aza series. In addition, 4-azasteroids with a D-homo ring or methyl substitution at C-7 (alpha and beta) or C-16 (alpha and beta) were prepared. The majority of the C-17 substituents were prepared from reactive intermediates derived from the 17 beta-COOH. Enhanced 5 alpha-reductase inhibition in both the human and rat enzyme assays is seen with 4-CN substitution on 3-oxo-delta 4 steroids and with a C-17 side chain incorporating a lipophilically substituted semipolar group on the 4-aza-3-oxo-5 alpha-androstane nucleus. Fewer highly active compounds were found in the human enzyme assay than in the rat assay. Structural requirements for inhibition of the rat androgen receptor are much different from those for inhibition of the enzyme. The 17 beta-OH moiety enhances potency more than any other feature while introduction of double bonds at C-1 or C-5 in the azasteroid gives a small improvement. Azasteroids unsubstituted at the 4-position show greatly diminished receptor activity.

MeSH terms

  • 5-alpha Reductase Inhibitors*
  • Animals
  • Azasteroids / chemical synthesis*
  • Azasteroids / metabolism
  • Azasteroids / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostate / enzymology
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism*
  • Steroids, Heterocyclic / chemical synthesis*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • 5-alpha Reductase Inhibitors
  • Azasteroids
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Steroids, Heterocyclic