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Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2001 Dec;15(4):1227-61.

Antifungal susceptibility testing. New technology and clinical applications.

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Medical Microbiology Division, Department of Pathology, University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.


The state of the art for susceptibility testing of yeasts is comparable with that of bacteria. Standardized methods for performing antifungal susceptibility testing are reproducible, accurate, and available in clinical laboratories. The development of quality control limits and interpretive criteria for a limited number of antifungal agents provides a basis for the application of this testing in the clinical laboratory. A proficiency testing program is available as a quality assurance measure for laboratories and has documented steady improvement among laboratories using the NCCLS method. As with antibacterial agents, surveillance programs are now in place using reference quality testing methods to monitor antifungal resistance trends on a global scale. It is clear that antifungal susceptibility testing can predict outcome in several clinical situations. Susceptibility testing is most helpful in dealing with infection caused by non-albicans species of Candida, and susceptibility testing of azoles is increasingly important in the management of candidiasis in critically ill patients. Susceptibility testing also has been standardized for filamentous fungi that cause invasive infections. Studies are ongoing to further refine this approach and evaluate the in vivo correlation with the in vitro data for molds. Future efforts must be directed toward establishing and validating interpretive break-points for licensed antifungals such as amphotericin B, and for new antifungals that are not yet licensed. Finally, procedures must be optimized for testing non-Candida yeasts (e.g., C. neoformans) and molds.

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