Steroid sulfatase (STS) is a new target for the endocrine therapy of breast cancer. To ascertain some of the requirements for inhibition of estrone sulfatase activity, a number of novel analogues of estrone 3-O-sulfate possessing sulfate surrogates were synthesized and evaluated as inhibitors of estrone sulfatase (STS) in comparison to a lead inhibitor, estrone-3-O-methylthiophosphonate (E1-3-MTP). Using a selective enzyme digestion, one of the diastereoisomers of this compound, (Rp)-E1-3-MTP, could be prepared and evaluated. From structure-activity studies, we show that chirality at the phosphorus atom, hydrophobicity, basicity, size, and charge all influence the ability of a compound to inhibit estrone sulfatase activity. Of these, hydrophobicity seems to be the most important since simple, active nonsteroidal inhibitors, based on 5,6,7,8-tetrahydronaphth-2-ol (THN), can be prepared, provided that they are lipophilic enough to partition into a nonpolar environment. Also, a negatively charged group is favorable for optimal binding, although it appears that the presence of a potentially cleavable group can compensate for lack of charge in certain cases. A homology model of STS has been constructed from the STS sequence, and molecular docking studies of inhibitors have been performed to broaden the understanding of enzyme/inhibitor interactions. This model clearly shows the positions of the key amino acid residues His136, His290, Lys134, and Lys368 in the putative catalytic region of the formylglycine at position 75, with residues Asp35, Asp36, Asp342, and Gln343 as ligands in the coordination sphere of the magnesium ion. Docking studies using the substrate and estrone-3-sulfate mimics that are active inhibitors indicate they are positioned in the area of proposed catalysis, confirming the predictive power of the model.