Incidence of polyene-resistant yeasts recovered from clinical specimens

J. D. Dick, W. G. Merz, R. Saral

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development of resistance to amphotericin B and nystatin in yeast isolates was determined. Organisms recovered from patients on the oncology service, undergoing extensive chemotherapy for acute leukemia and bone marrow transplantation, were compared with yeasts recovered from patients on other services in the same hospital over a 7-month period. An agar dilution method was used to assay the susceptibility for each antibiotic; resistance was defined as a minimal inhibitory concentration of ≥2 μg/ml for amphotericin B and ≥16 μg/ml for nystatin. None of 625 isolates from 238 patients on non-oncology services demonstrated polyene resistance. Resistance only occurred in a subpopulation of oncology patients, in which 55 isolates (7.4%) from six patients (8.6%) exhibited polyene resistance. Resistant yeasts included Candida albicans (three strains), Candida tropicalis (one strain), and Torulopsis glabrata (two strains). All of the patients from whom resistant yeasts were recovered had experienced extensive chemotherapy with cytotoxic agents, granulocytopenia, and long-term treatment with both antibacterial and polyene antibiotics. Resistance to 2 μg of amphotericin B per ml and to 16 μg of nystatin per ml was associated with loss or marked depression of ergosterol in the cell membrane as measured by ultraviolet spectra. A significant incidence of polyene resistance in an oncology subpopulation was documented, suggesting a need for susceptibility testing in patients who are at high risk for development of drug-resistant fungal pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-163
Number of pages6
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1980
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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