Echinocandin Antifungals: Review and Update

Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2006 Apr;4(2):325-42. doi: 10.1586/14787210.4.2.325.


The echinocandins are a new and unique class of antifungal agents that act on the fungal cell wall by way of noncompetitive inhibition of the synthesis of 1,3-beta-glucans. All agents of this class are of parenteral formulation, with no oral preparations available. Caspofungin (Cancidas) was the first approved echinocandin, followed recently by micafungin (Mycamine) and anidulafungin (Eraxis). The precise role of the echinocandins in the antifungal armamentarium is still unfolding. Caspofungin is approved for the treatment of candidal esophagitis and candidemia, salvage therapy of Aspergillus infections and for empirical therapy of febrile neutropenia. Micafungin is likewise approved for candidal esophagitis, in addition to antifungal prophylaxis for hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients. Anidulafungin is also approved for treatment of candidal esophagitis, as well as therapy of candidemia. There has been anecdotal use of these agents to treat less common fungal pathogens, as well as limited use as a component of combination antifungal therapy. The echinocandins are an important addition to the antifungal armamentarium in the treatment of fungal infections in both immunocompromised patients and those with normal immunity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anidulafungin
  • Animals
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Caspofungin
  • Echinocandins
  • Fungal Proteins / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Lipopeptides
  • Lipoproteins / therapeutic use
  • Micafungin
  • Mycoses / drug therapy*
  • Mycoses / epidemiology
  • Peptides, Cyclic / therapeutic use*
  • beta-Glucans / antagonists & inhibitors
  • beta-Glucans / metabolism


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Echinocandins
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Lipopeptides
  • Lipoproteins
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • beta-Glucans
  • beta-1,3-glucan
  • Anidulafungin
  • Caspofungin
  • Micafungin