Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy

Time-kill assay and Etest evaluation for synergy with polymyxin B and fluconazole against Candida glabrata.

PMID 25049251


Fluconazole-resistant Candida glabrata is an emerging pathogen that causes fungemia. Polymyxin B, a last-resort antibiotic used to treat multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacterial infections, has been found to possess in vitro fungicidal activity and showed synergy with fluconazole against a single strain of C. glabrata. Since both agents may be used simultaneously in intensive care unit (ICU) patients, this study was performed to test for possible synergy of this combination against 35 C. glabrata blood isolates, using 2 methods: a time-kill assay and an experimental MIC-MIC Etest method. Thirty-five genetically unique C. glabrata bloodstream isolates were collected from 2009 to 2011, identified using an API 20C system, and genotyped by repetitive sequence-based PCR (rep-PCR). MICs were determined by Etest and broth microdilution methods. Synergy testing was performed using a modified bacterial Etest synergy method and time-kill assay, with final results read at 24 h. The Etest method showed synergy against 19/35 (54%) isolates; the time-kill assay showed synergy against 21/35 (60%) isolates. Isolates not showing drug synergy had an indifferent status. Concordance between methods was 60%. In vitro synergy of polymyxin B and fluconazole against the majority of C. glabrata isolates was demonstrated by both methods. The bacterial Etest synergy method adapted well when used with C. glabrata. Etest was easier to perform than time-kill assay and may be found to be an acceptable alternative to time-kill assay with antifungals.