In vitro antifungal activities of anidulafungin and micafungin, licensed agents and the investigational triazole posaconazole as determined by NCCLS methods for 12,052 fungal isolates: review of the literature

Ana Espinel-Ingroff
Revista Iberoamericana de MicologĂ­a 2003, 20 (4): 121-36
The echinocandins anidulafungin and micafungin and the triazole posaconazole are currently undergoing phase III clinical trials. Caspofungin and voriconazole have recently been licensed for the treatment of aspergillosis (both agents), other less common mould (voriconazole) and candidal (caspofungin) infections. This review summarizes the published in vitro data obtained by NCCLS or NCCLS modified methods on the in vitro fungistatic and fungicidal activities of these five agents for yeasts and moulds in comparison to the established agents, amphotericin B, fluconazole, itraconazole, and flucytosine. Among the yeasts, the echinocandins have less activity for Candida parapsilosis and Candida guilliermondii, no activity for Cryptococcus neoformans and Trichosporon spp., but good fungistatic and fungicidal activity in vivo and in vitro for most of the other Candida spp.; this fungicidal activity has been reported by minimum fungicidal concentrations (MFCs) or time kill curve results. The new triazoles exhibit good fungistatic activity (but not fungicidal) for most Candida spp., C. neoformans, and Trichosporon spp. For the Aspergillus spp. evaluated, the echinocandins have similar or better fungistatic activity than those of amphotericin B and the triazoles, but fungicidal activity has been demonstrated only with amphotericin B and the triazoles, with the exception of fluconazole. Most studies showed posaconazole and voriconazole minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) ranging from 0.25 to 8 microg/ml for non-solani Fusarium spp., while MIC and minimum effective concentration (MEC) endpoints of the echinocandins were >8 microg/ml. The fungistatic activity of the triazoles is also superior to that of the echinocandins for most of the dimorphic fungi and the Zygomycetes. However, micafungin has activity for the mould phase of most dimorphic fungi, but not for the parasitic or yeast phase of Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. The echinocandins appear to have variable and species dependent fungistatic activity for the dematiaceous fungi, but all agents have poor or no activity against most isolates of Scedosporium prolificans. Only amphotericin B exhibit good fungistatic activity against the Zygomycetes. The combination of caspofungin with some triazoles, amphotericin B or liposomal amphotericin B has been synergistic in vitro, in animal models and in patients. Breakpoints are not available for any mould and antifungal agent combination. In vitro/in vivo correlations should aid in the interpretation of these results, but standard testing conditions are needed for the echinocandins, especially for mould testing, to obtain reliable results.


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