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      Efficacy of an Abbreviated Induction Regimen of Amphotericin B Deoxycholate for Cryptococcal Meningoencephalitis: 3 Days of Therapy Is Equivalent to 14 Days

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          ABSTRACT

          Cryptococcal meningoencephalitis is an urgent global health problem. Induction regimens using 14 days of amphotericin B deoxycholate (dAmB) are considered the standard of care but may not be suitable for resource-poor settings. We investigated the efficacy of conventional and abbreviated regimens of dAmB for cryptococcal meningoencephalitis in both murine and rabbit models of cryptococcal meningoencephalitis. We examined the extent to which immunological effectors contribute to the antifungal effect. We bridged the results to humans as a first critical step to define regimens suitable for further study in clinical trials. There were significant differences in the murine plasma-versus-cerebrum dAmB concentration-time profiles. dAmB was detectable in the cerebrum throughout the experimental period, even following the administration of only three doses of 3 mg/kg. dAmB induced a fungistatic effect in the cerebrum with a 2- to 3-log 10 CFU/g reduction compared with controls. The effect of 3 days of therapy was the same as that of daily therapy for 14 days. There was no evidence of increased numbers of CD3 + CD4 + or CD3 + CD8 + cells in treated mice to account for the persistent antifungal effect of an abbreviated regimen. The administration of dAmB at 1 mg/kg/day for 3 days was the same as daily therapy in rabbits. The bridging studies suggested that a human regimen of 0.7 mg/kg/day for 3 days resulted in nearly maximal antifungal activity in both the cerebrum and cerebrospinal fluid. An abbreviated regimen (3 days of therapy) of dAmB appears to be just as effective as conventional induction therapy for cryptococcal meningoencephalitis.

          IMPORTANCE

          Cryptococcal meningitis is a significant and neglected infection that is associated with excessive morbidity and mortality. In well-resourced health care settings, induction therapy with at least 2 weeks of amphotericin B deoxycholate (dAmB) is advocated. Multiple clinical studies suggest that dAmB is the drug of choice for cryptococcal meningitis. In many parts of the world where the burden of cryptococcal meningitis is highest, it is infeasible to administer dAmB for prolonged periods. This paper provides the experimental basis for the efficacy of abbreviated regimens of dAmB for cryptococcal meningitis. The concept was explored in two well-validated laboratory animal models of cryptococcal meningitis, and the results were bridged to humans by using a range of mathematical modeling techniques. A 3-day regimen is as effective as the standard 14-day course. An abbreviated regimen is significantly more feasible and may enable better antifungal therapy to be administered to many patients with this frequently lethal disease.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Combination antifungal therapy for cryptococcal meningitis.

          Combination antifungal therapy (amphotericin B deoxycholate and flucytosine) is the recommended treatment for cryptococcal meningitis but has not been shown to reduce mortality, as compared with amphotericin B alone. We performed a randomized, controlled trial to determine whether combining flucytosine or high-dose fluconazole with high-dose amphotericin B improved survival at 14 and 70 days. We conducted a randomized, three-group, open-label trial of induction therapy for cryptococcal meningitis in patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection. All patients received amphotericin B at a dose of 1 mg per kilogram of body weight per day; patients in group 1 were treated for 4 weeks, and those in groups 2 and 3 for 2 weeks. Patients in group 2 concurrently received flucytosine at a dose of 100 mg per kilogram per day for 2 weeks, and those in group 3 concurrently received fluconazole at a dose of 400 mg twice daily for 2 weeks. A total of 299 patients were enrolled. Fewer deaths occurred by days 14 and 70 among patients receiving amphotericin B and flucytosine than among those receiving amphotericin B alone (15 vs. 25 deaths by day 14; hazard ratio, 0.57; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.30 to 1.08; unadjusted P=0.08; and 30 vs. 44 deaths by day 70; hazard ratio, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.39 to 0.97; unadjusted P=0.04). Combination therapy with fluconazole had no significant effect on survival, as compared with monotherapy (hazard ratio for death by 14 days, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.44 to 1.41; P=0.42; hazard ratio for death by 70 days, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.45 to 1.11; P=0.13). Amphotericin B plus flucytosine was associated with significantly increased rates of yeast clearance from cerebrospinal fluid (-0.42 log10 colony-forming units [CFU] per milliliter per day vs. -0.31 and -0.32 log10 CFU per milliliter per day in groups 1 and 3, respectively; P<0.001 for both comparisons). Rates of adverse events were similar in all groups, although neutropenia was more frequent in patients receiving a combination therapy. Amphotericin B plus flucytosine, as compared with amphotericin B alone, is associated with improved survival among patients with cryptococcal meningitis. A survival benefit of amphotericin B plus fluconazole was not found. (Funded by the Wellcome Trust and the British Infection Society; Controlled-Trials.com number, ISRCTN95123928.).
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            Independent association between rate of clearance of infection and clinical outcome of HIV-associated cryptococcal meningitis: analysis of a combined cohort of 262 patients.

            Progress in therapy for cryptococcal meningitis has been slow because of the lack of a suitable marker of treatment response. Previously, we demonstrated the statistical power of a novel endpoint, the rate of clearance of infection, based on serial quantitative cultures of cerebrospinal fluid, to differentiate the fungicidal activity of alternative antifungal drug regimens. We hypothesized that the rate of clearance of infection should also be a clinically meaningful endpoint. We combined data from cohorts of patients with human immunodeficiency virus-associated cryptococcal meningitis from Thailand, South Africa, and Uganda, for whom the rate of clearance of infection was determined, and clinical and laboratory data prospectively collected, and explored the association between the rate of clearance of infection and mortality by Cox survival analyses. The combined cohort comprised 262 subjects. Altered mental status at presentation, a high baseline organism load, and a slow rate of clearance of infection were independently associated with increased mortality at 2 and 10 weeks. Rate of clearance of infection was associated with antifungal drug regimen and baseline cerebrospinal fluid interferon-gamma levels. The results support the use of the rate of clearance of infection or early fungicidal activity as a means to explore antifungal drug dosages and combinations in phase II studies. An increased understanding of how the factors determining outcome interrelate may help clarify opportunities for intervention.
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              Combination flucytosine and high-dose fluconazole compared with fluconazole monotherapy for the treatment of cryptococcal meningitis: a randomized trial in Malawi.

              Cryptococcal meningitis is a major cause of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-associated morbidity and mortality in Africa. Improved oral treatment regimens are needed because amphotericin B is neither available nor feasible in many centers. Fluconazole at a dosage of 1200 mg per day is more fungicidal than at a dosage of 800 mg per day, but mortality rates remain unacceptably high. Therefore, we examined the effect of adding oral flucytosine to fluconazole. From 13 February through 2 December 2008, HIV-seropositive, antiretroviral-naive patients experiencing their first episode of cryptococcal meningitis were randomized to receive (1) 14 days of fluconazole (1200 mg per day) alone or (2) in combination with flucytosine (100 mg/kg per day) followed by fluconazole (800 mg per day), with both groups undergoing 10 weeks of follow-up. The primary end point was early fungicidal activity, derived from quantitative cerebrospinal fluid cultures on days 1, 3, 7, and 14. Secondary end points were safety and 2- and 10-week mortality. Forty-one patients were analyzed. Baseline mental status, cryptococcal burden, opening pressure, CD4(+) cell count, and HIV load were similar between groups. Combination therapy was more fungicidal than fluconazole alone (mean early fungicidal activity +/- standard deviation -0.28 +/- 0.17 log colony-forming units [CFU]/mL per day vs -0.11 +/- 0.09 log CFU/mL per day; P < .001). The combination arm had fewer deaths by 2 weeks (10% vs 37%) and 10 weeks (43% vs 58%). More patients had grade III or IV neutropenia with combination therapy (5 vs 1, within the first 2 weeks; P = .20), but there was no increase in infection-related adverse events. The results suggest that optimal oral treatment for cryptococcal meningitis is high-dose fluconazole with flucytosine. Efforts are needed to increase availability of flucytosine in Africa. Clinical trials registration. isrctn.org Identifier: ISRCTN02725351.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                mBio
                MBio
                mbio
                mbio
                mBio
                mBio
                American Society of Microbiology (1752 N St., N.W., Washington, DC )
                2150-7511
                28 January 2014
                Jan-Feb 2014
                : 5
                : 1
                Affiliations
                [ a ]Antimicrobial Pharmacodynamics and Therapeutics, Department of Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom
                [ b ]The University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, NIHR Translational Research Facility in Respiratory Medicine, University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom
                [ c ]Charles River Laboratories, Davis, California, USA
                [ d ]Faculty of Life Sciences, The University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
                [ e ]Research Centre for Infection and Immunity, St. George’s University of London, London, United Kingdom
                [ f ]Department of Medicine, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
                Author notes
                Address correspondence to William Hope, william.hope@ 123456liverpool.ac.uk .

                J.L. and S.J.H. contributed equally to this article.

                Editor George Drusano, University of Florida

                Article
                mBio00725-13
                10.1128/mBio.00725-13
                3903272
                24473125
                Copyright © 2014 Livermore et al.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

                Page count
                Pages: 11
                Categories
                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                January/February 2014

                Life sciences

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