About one-third of breast cancers are classified as estrogen-dependent breast cancers. In the past 10 years, numerous reports have suggested the importance of estrone sulfate and estrone sulfatase in regulating the supply of estrogens to these cancers. Estrone sulfatase inhibitors may thus prove to be useful for the treatment of these diseases. Several research groups have reported the development of estrone sulfatase inhibitors, and estrone-3-O-sulfamate has been shown to be the most potent sulfatase inhibitor. However, a recent report indicated that estrone may be released during the inactivation of sulfatase by estrone-3-O-sulfamate and rendered the inhibitor to be estrogenic. Therefore, there is a need for a potent non-steroidal sulfatase inhibitor that is metabolically stable, more selective, and lacking estrogenic activity. We developed a series of (p-O-sulfamoyl)-N-alkanoyl tyramines, and they proved to be potent estrone sulfatase inhibitors. Using human placental microsome as the enzyme source, the best inhibitor in this series, compound 18, has an IC50 of 55.8 nM. Another potent inhibitor in this series, compound 17, exhibited time-dependent inactivation of sulfatase when incubated at various concentrations (0.2-1.0 microM) of the inhibitor. Estrone sulfate partially blocked the inactivation of the enzyme by the compound, indicating that the compound inactivated sulfatase at the active site. The irreversible nature of the enzyme-inhibitor interaction was supported by irreversibility studies. Thus, (p-O-sulfamoyl)-N-alkanoyl tyramines represent a new series of non-steroidal estrone sulfatase inhibitor.