Letter | Published:

3β-Methoxy-5-androsten-16β-ol: a Cytostatic and Fungistatic Steroid


IN our search for a superior ‘androgenic’ steroid for use in human cancer of the breast, we have submitted many such steroids to study in the zebra fish-egg test1. Using this bioassay method for determination of cytostatic activity, intensely cytostatic compounds in the C-19 or ‘androgenic’ steroids are difficult to find. To date, our most active compound is 3β-methoxy-5-androsten-16β-ol2, this steroid having LD50 of 1–2 parts per million. It is very interesting that this compound is the exact analogue of the steroidal œstrogen 3-methoxyœstra-1-3,5(10)-trien-16β-ol3, which had been previously selected by us for use against cancer of the prostate, based on fish-egg cytostasis4. Also of much interest in steroidal cytostasis is the fact that methyl ether formation at C3 of 5-androstene-3β,16β-diol2 so strongly enhances the activity of this diol, which itself is virtually inactive (LD50 > 10 p.p.m.). Methyl ether formation at C3 of l,3,5(10)-œstratrien-3,16β-diol3 had also caused an enhancement (100 per cent) of cytostatic activity in the fish-egg test.

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  1. 1

    Jones, R. W., and Huffman, M. N., Trans. Amer. Micro. Soc., 76, 177 (1957).

  2. 2

    Huffman, M. N., Lott, M. H., and Tillotson, A., J. Biol. Chem., 222, 447 (1956).

  3. 3

    Huffman, M. N., and Lott, M. H., J. Biol. Chem., 213, 343 (1955).

  4. 4

    Huffman, M. N., Jones, R. W., and Katzberg, A. A., Cancer (in the Press).

  5. 5

    Rebell, G., and Lamb, J. H., J. Invest. Dermat., 21, 331 (1953).

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