Comparing Etest and Broth Microdilution for Antifungal Susceptibility Testing of the Most-Relevant Pathogenic Molds.
Invasive mold infections are life-threatening diseases for which appropriate antifungal therapy is crucial. Their epidemiology is evolving, with the emergence of triazole-resistant Aspergillus spp. and multidrug-resistant non-Aspergillus molds. Despite the lack of interpretive criteria, antifungal susceptibility testing of molds may be useful in guiding antifungal therapy. The standard broth microdilution method (BMD) is demanding and requires expertise. We assessed the performance of a commercialized gradient diffusion method (Etest method) as an alternative to BMD. The MICs or minimal effective concentrations (MECs) of amphotericin B, voriconazole, posaconazole, caspofungin, and micafungin were assessed for 290 clinical isolates of the most representative pathogenic molds (154 Aspergillus and 136 non-Aspergillus isolates) with the BMD and Etest methods. Essential agreements (EAs) within ±2 dilutions of ≥90% between the two methods were considered acceptable. EAs for amphotericin B and voriconazole were >90% for most potentially susceptible species. For posaconazole, the correlation was acceptable for Mucoromycotina but Etest MIC values were consistently lower for Aspergillus spp. (EAs of <90%). Excellent EAs were found for echinocandins with highly susceptible (MECs of <0.015 μg/ml) or intrinsically resistant (MECs of >16 μg/ml) strains. However, MEC determinations lacked consistency between methods for strains exhibiting mid-range MECs for echinocandins. We concluded that the Etest method is an appropriate alternative to BMD for antifungal susceptibility testing of molds under specific circumstances, including testing with amphotericin B or triazoles for non-Aspergillus molds (Mucoromycotina and Fusarium spp.). Additional study of molecularly characterized triazole-resistant Aspergillus isolates is required to confirm the ability of the Etest method to detect voriconazole and posaconazole resistance among Aspergillus spp.
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