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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Inhibition of estrone sulfatase and 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase by antiestrogens.

Circulating estrone sulfate levels are 10-fold higher than the free estrone and estradiol levels in postmenopausal women and could form a reservoir from which the free estrogens could be synthesized in situ in breast cancer tissues. The enzymes catalyzing conversion of estrone sulfate to free estrone and estradiol are estrone sulfatase and 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, respectively. Selective blockade of these two enzymes may provide a means of reducing tumor estrogen levels and promoting tumor regression. The present study characterized the kinetics of several potential inhibitors of estrone sulfatase and 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase in vitro in rat breast tumors and compared these effects to those in human tissues. The antiestrogen ICI 164384 as well as tamoxifen and its metabolites inhibit estrone sulfatase via noncompetitive mechanisms at Kis ranging from 11-1130 microM in rat breast tumors. The steroid sulfates (pregnenolone sulfate and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate) on the other hand, act as competitive inhibitors with Kis ranging from 4 to 6 microM. ICI 164384 and the tamoxifen metabolite 4-hydroxytamoxifen also blocked 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase at concentrations of 470 and 275 microM, respectively. In human breast tumors, 4-hydroxytamoxifen and desmethyltamoxifen blocked estrone sulfatase and 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase but at higher concentrations than in the rat (i.e. IC50s of 1000-2000 microM). The inhibition caused by the antiestrogens requires concentrations at least 100-fold higher than those necessary for antiestrogenic effects. Although blockade of enzyme action is significant in vitro, and could also be in vivo, the effects of antiestrogens on enzyme inhibition are likely to be outweighed by their ability to block estrogen receptor-mediated effects in patients.[1]


  1. Inhibition of estrone sulfatase and 17 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase by antiestrogens. Santner, S.J., Santen, R.J. J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol. (1993) [Pubmed]
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