In-vitro testing of susceptibility to amphotericin B is a reliable predictor of clinical outcome in invasive aspergillosis

J Antimicrob Chemother. 1998 Oct;42(4):497-502. doi: 10.1093/jac/42.4.497.


Invasive aspergillosis is a life-threatening fungal infection which, in neutropenic patients, is associated with an extremely high mortality rate despite optimal treatment. In order to investigate microbiological risk factors for treatment failures in more detail, Aspergillus spp. obtained from 29 patients with haematological diseases after myelo-ablative chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation were analysed for their susceptibility to amphotericin B in vitro and this was compared with clinical outcome to see if there was a correlation. Aspergillus flavus was present in 12 (41 %) of the 29 patients, Aspergillus terreus in nine (31%) and Aspergillus fumigatus in eight (28%). The susceptibility of these isolates to amphotericin B varied between and within the three species. A. terreus was the only organism against which the MIC was consistently high, A. fumigatus and A. flavus showing variation between isolates in the degree of resistance to amphotericin B. The degree of in-vitro resistance was the only parameter correlating with clinical outcome in a univariate analysis and the only prognostic value in a multivariate analysis considering known risk factors. Irrespective of the species, all six patients with isolates against which the MIC was <2 mg/L survived, whereas most (22/23) of those with isolates resistant to > or = 2 mg/L died. Infections among the six survivors were caused by amphotericin B-susceptible A. fumigatus and A. flavus, but not A. terreus. We conclude that the outcome of aspergillus infection depends on the in-vitro susceptibility of the isolates to amphotericin B. Survival was poor in patients with isolates resistant to amphotericin B and good in those with amphotericin B-susceptible specimens. A. terreus was always associated with high resistance to amphotericin B and with poor survival.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Amphotericin B / pharmacology*
  • Amphotericin B / therapeutic use
  • Anemia, Aplastic / complications
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Aspergillosis / complications
  • Aspergillosis / drug therapy*
  • Aspergillus / drug effects*
  • Aspergillus / isolation & purification
  • Burkitt Lymphoma / complications
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / complications
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Multiple Myeloma / complications
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Amphotericin B