In humans, the CYP17A1 gene is largely associated with endocrine effects and steroid hormone metabolism.    Furthermore, mutations in the CYP17A1 gene are associated with rare forms of congenital adrenal hyperplasia, in particular 17α-hydroxylase deficiency/17,20-lyase deficiency and isolated 17,20-lyase deficiency. Overall, CYP17A1 is an important target for inhibition in the treatment of prostate cancer because it produces androgen that is required for tumor cell growth.   Currently, the FDA has approved only one CYP17A1 inhibitor, abiraterone, which contains a steroidal scaffold that is similar to the endogenous CYP17A1 substrates. Abiraterone is structurally similar to the substrates of other cytochrome P450 enzymes involved in steroidogenesis, and interference can pose a liability in terms of side effects. Using nonsteroidal scaffolds is expected to enable the design of compounds that interact more selectively with CYP17A1.  Potent inhibitors of the CYP17A1 enzyme provide a last line defense against ectopic androgenesis in advanced prostate cancer. 
As a mitochondrial P450 system, P450c11 is dependent on two electron transfer proteins, adrenodoxin reductase and adrenodoxin that transfer 2 electrons from NADPH to the P450 for each monooxygenase reaction catalyzed by the enzyme. In most respects this process of electron transfer appears similar to that of P450scc system that catalyzes cholesterol side chain cleavage.  Similar to P450scc the process of electrons transfer is leaky leading to superoxide production. The rate of electron leakage during metabolism depends on the functional groups of the steroid substrate.