The allylic 7-ketone at the steroidal skeleton is crucial for the antileukemic potency of chlorambucil's active metabolite steroidal esters
We have investigated the role of the allylic 7-ketone in oxidized Delta(5)-steroids on antileukernic activity. We synthesized and studied a series of oxidized and non-oxidized steroidal esters of p-N,N-bis(2-chloroethyl) aminophenylacetic acid (PHE), chlorambucil's active metabolite. In a comparative study of these 7-keto derivatives, on a molecular basis, regarding their ability to induce sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs) and to inhibit cell proliferation in normal human lymphocytes in vitro, the results with these 7-keto derivatives, on a molecular basis, correlated well with their antileukernic potency against leukemia P388- and L1210-bearing mice, which proved to be significantly increased compared to that of the nonoxidized derivatives. Our results indicate that the role of the steroidal skeleton it is not only for the transportation of the alkylating agent into the cell, but also contributes directly to the mechanism of antileukernic action, by an as-yet unknown way. The main conclusion from this study is that the existence of the allylic 7-keto group in the skeleton of the Delta(5)-steroidal esters impressively enhances their antileukernic activity, while the toxicity remains at clinically acceptable levels, suggesting that this structural modification should be further investigated. (C) 2004 Lippincott Williams Wilkins.
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