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Curr Pharm Des. 2000 Jan;6(2):225-39.

Fungal cell wall inhibitors: emphasis on clinical aspects.

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  • 1Department of Haematology, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium.


Invasive fungal infections, mainly caused by Candida and Aspergillus species, are an emerging cause of morbidity and mortality among all categories of immunocompromised patients. Currently available antifungal agents, both polyenes, flucytosine and (tri)azoles are hampered by serious infusion- or drug-related toxicity, by hazardous drug-drug interactions, or by pharmacokinetic problems and by the development of resistance, in vitro as well as in vivo. In recent years, several companies have become interested in antifungal drug development and have launched new compounds into preclinical and clinical trials. Some of these agents target the fungal cell wall in stead of the cell membrane. They exert their fungicidal action through inhibition of the synthesis of critical compounds of that fungal cell wall, not present in mammalian cells. Exciting and promising agents include inhibitors of beta-(1,3)-D-glucan synthase and inhibitors of chitin synthase. These drugs appear well tolerated in Phase I-II studies and will soon enter Phase III studies. This review wants to provide the clinical framework for assessing the utility of these agents compared to existing antifungals, thereby focusing on invasive fungal disease and emphasising the changing fungal epidemiology and susceptibility in immunocompromised hosts.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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