Most prostate and breast cancers are hormone dependent. The inhibition of steroid 17α-hydroxylase/17,20- lyase (CYP17),
which is a crucial enzyme for steroid hormone biosynthesis, is widely used to treat androgen-dependent prostate cancer (PC). CYP17 has
dual enzymatic activity: 17alpha-hydroxylase activity (utilizing delta4- C21 steroids as substrates) and the 17,20-lyase activity (using
delta5- C21 steroids as substrates). The steroid biosynthetic pathway is directed to either the production of corticosteroids or sex
hormones depending on the activity of CYP17. In this review, the current information on the genetics, molecular structure, substrate
specificity and inhibitors of CYP17 is analyzed and discussed.
Keywords: Cytochrome P450, CYP17, hormone-dependent cancer, inhibitors of androgen biosynthesis, prostate cancer, steroid hormone
biosynthesis, steroid 17α-hydroxylase, 17, 20-lyase.
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