Synthesis, antitubulin and antimitotic activity, and cytotoxicity of analogs of 2-methoxyestradiol, an endogenous mammalian metabolite of estradiol that inhibits tubulin polymerization by binding to the colchicine binding site

J Med Chem. 1995 Jun 9;38(12):2041-9. doi: 10.1021/jm00012a003.


In order to define the structural parameters associated with the antitubulin activity and cytotoxicity of 2-methoxyestradiol, a mammalian metabolite of estradiol, an array of analogs was synthesized and evaluated. The potencies of the new congeners as inhibitors of tubulin polymerization and colchicine binding were determined using tubulin purified from bovine brain, and the cytotoxicities of the new compounds were studied in a variety of cancer cell cultures. Maximum antitubulin activity was observed in estradiols having unbranched chain substituents at the 2-position with three non-hydrogen atoms. 2-Ethoxyestradiol and 2-((E)-1-propenyl)-estradiol were substantially more potent than 2-methoxyestradiol itself. The tubulin polymerization inhibitors in this series displayed significantly higher cytotoxicities in the MDA-MB-435 breast cancer cell line than in the other cell lines studied. The potencies of the analogs as cytotoxic and antimitotic agents in cancer cell cultures correlated with their potencies as inhibitors of tubulin polymerization, supporting the hypothesis that inhibition of tubulin polymerization is the mechanism of the cytotoxic action of 2-methoxyestradiol and its congeners. Several of the more potent analogs were tested in an estrogen receptor binding assay, and their affinities relative to estradiol were found to be very low.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 2-Methoxyestradiol
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemical synthesis*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / metabolism
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Binding Sites
  • Biopolymers
  • Cattle
  • Cell Line
  • Colchicine / metabolism*
  • Estradiol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Estradiol / chemical synthesis
  • Estradiol / metabolism
  • Estradiol / pharmacology
  • Mitosis / drug effects*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism
  • Tubulin Modulators*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biopolymers
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Tubulin Modulators
  • Estradiol
  • 2-Methoxyestradiol
  • Colchicine