The reaction of tetramethyldiamidophosphoric acid chloride with epoxides in the presence of a trace amount of water furnished 1,3-dienes in good yield. The conversion works with open chain and cyclic epoxides. A C-C bond cleavage reaction occurs if the epoxide contains a quaternary carbon. Application of this method to epoxy sterols afforded ring A aromatic steroids in good yield. The aromatization works via dienol-benzene rearrangements and is independent of the C-3 stereochemistry. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.