Exploring synergy between azole antifungal drugs and statins for Candida auris

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2023 Dec 1;78(12):2824-2829. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkad303.


Background: Global emergence of rapidly developing resistance to multiple antifungal drugs and high mortality pose challenges to the treatment of invasive Candida auris infections. New therapeutic approaches are needed, such as repurposing drugs including combination with antifungals. Statins have been reported to exert antifungal effects against various Candida species.

Objectives: Our study investigated potential synergy between the statins (rosuvastatin and fluvastatin) and azoles (voriconazole, posaconazole and isavuconazole) on clinical isolates of C. auris.

Methods: Twenty-one clinical isolates of C. auris were obtained. Chequerboard assays based on the CLSI broth microdilution method were used to assess synergy based on FIC index (FICI) calculations of MICs of individual drugs and in combinations.

Results: Single drug geometric mean (GM) MICs of fluvastatin and rosuvastatin were ≥128 mg/L in all 21 isolates. GM (range) MICs of posaconazole, voriconazole and isavuconazole were 0.259 (0.016-1 mg/L), 0.469 (0.016-2 mg/L) and 0.085 (0.004-1 mg/L), respectively. Combination of azoles with fluvastatin showed synergy in 70%-90% of C. auris isolates. In particular, voriconazole/fluvastatin resulted in 16-fold reduction in voriconazole MIC and synergy in 14/21 (67%) isolates. Posaconazole/fluvastatin resulted in 8-fold reduction in posaconazole MIC and synergy in 19/21 (90%) isolates.Combining rosuvastatin with the azoles also showed synergy against C. auris in 40%-60% of the isolates and additive effect in 40%-50%. None of the combinations was antagonistic.

Conclusions: Our results provide a rationale for pursuing in vivo synergy tests as well as clinical studies to explore tolerability, treatment outcomes, optimal dose and exposure targets.

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents* / pharmacology
  • Azoles / pharmacology
  • Candida auris
  • Drug Resistance, Fungal
  • Fluvastatin / pharmacology
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors* / pharmacology
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Rosuvastatin Calcium / pharmacology
  • Voriconazole / pharmacology


  • Antifungal Agents
  • isavuconazole
  • Voriconazole
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Fluvastatin
  • Rosuvastatin Calcium
  • Azoles

Supplementary concepts

  • Systemic candidiasis