The echinocandins are antifungal agents, which act by inhibiting the synthesis of β-(1,3)-D-glucan, an integral component of fungal cell walls. Caspofungin, the first approved echinocandin, demonstrates good in vitro and in vivo activity against a range of Candida species and is an alternative therapy for Aspergillus infections. Caspofungin provides an excellent safety profile and is therefore favoured in patients with moderately severe to severe illness, recent azole exposure and in those who are at high risk of infections due to Candida glabrata or Candida krusei. In vivo/in vitro resistance to caspofungin and breakthrough infections in patients receiving this agent have been reported for Candida and Aspergillus species. The types of pathogens and the frequency causing breakthrough mycoses are not well delineated. Caspofungin resistance resulting in clinical failure has been linked to mutations in the Fksp subunit of glucan synthase complex. European Committee for Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing and Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute need to improve the in vitro susceptibility testing methods to detect fks hot spot mutants. Caspofungin represents a significant advance in the care of patients with serious fungal infections.
© 2011 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.