Investigating Antifungal Susceptibility in Candida Species With MALDI-TOF MS-Based Assays

Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2019 Feb 7:9:19. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2019.00019. eCollection 2019.


Half of invasive fungal infections lead to death. Amongst pathogenic fungi, the most widespread species belong to the Candida genus and vary in their susceptibility to antifungal drugs. The emergence of antifungal resistance has become a major clinical problem. Therefore, the definition of susceptibility patterns is crucial for the survival of patients and the monitoring of resistance epidemiology. Although, most routinely used methods of AntiFungal Susceptibility Testing (AFST) have reached their limits, the rediscovery of Matrix Associated Laser Desorption/Ionization Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) in the field of mycology provides a promising alternative for the study of antifungal resistance. MALDI-TOF MS is already used in mycology for fungal identification, which permits to highlight inherent antifungal resistance. However, the main concern of clinicians is the rise of acquired antifungal resistance and the time needed for their detection. For this purpose, MALDI-TOF MS has been shown to be an accurate tool for AFST, presenting numerous advantages in comparison to commonly used techniques. Finally, MALDI-TOF MS could be used directly to detect resistance mechanisms through typing. Consequently, MALDI-TOF MS offers new perspectives in the context of healthcare associated outbreaks of emerging multi-drug resistant fungi, such as C. auris. As a proof of concept, we will illustrate the current and future benefits in using and adapting MALDI-TOF MS-based assays to define the susceptibility pattern of C. auris, by species identification, AFST, and typing.

Keywords: Candida spp.; MALDI-TOF MS; antifungal resistance; antifungal susceptibility testing; identification; typing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Candida / classification
  • Candida / drug effects*
  • Candida / isolation & purification
  • Candidiasis, Invasive / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests / methods*
  • Mycological Typing Techniques / methods
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods*


  • Antifungal Agents