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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2003 Nov;52(5):873-6. Epub 2003 Sep 30.

Treatment failure in invasive aspergillosis: susceptibility of deep tissue isolates following treatment with amphotericin B.

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Departments of Microbiology and Haematology, Royal Free and University College Medical School, Royal Free Campus and Royal Free Hospital, Pond Street, London NW3 2QG, UK.



To determine whether treatment failure in invasive aspergillosis (IA) is the result of resistance of Aspergillus spp. isolates to amphotericin B.


Six Aspergillus fumigatus and six Aspergillus flavus isolates cultured from deep tissue biopsies in 11 patients with haematological malignancies during 1991-1998 were tested. A method based on the NCCLS M38-A broth microdilution method, with colorimetric determination of MICs, was used to determine the MICs of amphotericin B and itraconazole.


All A. fumigatus isolates were susceptible to amphotericin B (MIC 0.25-0.5 mg/L), as were three A. flavus isolates (MIC 1 mg/L), but three were less susceptible (MIC 2 mg/L). All isolates were susceptible to itraconazole (MIC 0.125-0.25 mg/L). All patients had been treated with amphotericin B, having received a median of 12 days of treatment when the tissue was obtained.


The difficulty in treating IA may not be because of the susceptibility of the isolates, but because of poor penetration of antifungal agents into infected tissue. Aspergillus spp. invade blood vessels causing thrombosis and tissue infarction, and therefore it may be difficult for antifungal drugs to exceed MICs in infected tissues. This highlights the need for different treatment strategies, such as surgery and the administration of cytokines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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