• abiraterone analogues;
  • CYP17A1 ;
  • CYP19 ;
  • hormone-dependent cancer;
  • hormone-independent cancer;
  • hybrid heterocycle steroids;
  • prostate cancer;
  • steroidal alkaloid analogues

Nine new 17-(piperazin-1-yl)pyridin-5-yl)steroids as abiraterone analogues were synthesized. Compounds 5d and 5g showed selective activities against 17α-hydroxylase/C17,20-lyase (CYP17A1) and aromatase (CYP19), respectively. IC50 values of 5d were 5.09 and >50 μm, whereas these values for 5g were >50 μm and 7.40 μm, respectively, for CYP17A1 and CYP19. Molecular modelling highlighted that the inhibitor designed to bind cytochrome P450 haem iron is a necessary condition but not the only rationale to explain inhibitory activity. These abiraterone analogues were then evaluated on hormone-independent prostate cancer cell lines DU-145 and PC-3 and on hormone-dependent breast and prostate cancer cell lines MCF-7 and LNCaP, respectively. Compounds 5e, 5g and 5i have showed potent activities only on hormone-independent prostate cancer cell lines DU-145 and PC-3 with 60–85% inhibition of both cell viability and growth at 10 nm with pro-apoptotic mechanism as illustrated in PC-3 cells by DNA ladder assay and Western blotting of Bax, Casp-3 and its substrate, the poly (ADP–ribose) polymerase. We conclude that hybrid heterocycle steroids could be good lead compounds in the drug design especially against hormone-independent prostate cancer.