Fluconazole resistance in isolates of uncommon pathogenic yeast species from the United Kingdom

Andrew M. Borman*, Julian Muller, Jo Walsh-Quantick, Adrien Szekely, Zoe Patterson, Michael D. Palmer, Mark Fraser, Elizabeth Johnson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The triazole drug fluconazole remains one of the most commonly prescribed antifungal drugs, both for prophylaxis in high-risk patients and also as a second-line treatment option for invasive Candida infections. Established susceptibility profiles and clinical interpretive breakpoints are available for fluconazole with Candida albicans, Candida glabrata, Candida tropicalis, and Candida parapsilosis, which account for the majority of infections due to pathogenic yeast species. However, less common species for which only limited susceptibility data are available are increasingly reported in high-risk patients and from breakthrough infections. The UK National Mycology Reference Laboratory performs routine antifungal susceptibility testing of clinical isolates of pathogenic yeast submitted from across the United Kingdom. Between 2002 and 2016, 32,000 isolates were referred, encompassing 94 different yeast species. Here, we present fluconazole antifungal susceptibility data generated using a CLSI methodology over this 15-year period for 82 species (2,004 isolates) of less common yeast and yeast-like fungi, and amphotericin B, fluconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole, posaconazole, and anidulafungin, with members of the Nakaseomyces clade (C. glabrata, Candida nivariensis, and Candida bracarensis). At least 22 different teleomorph genera, comprising 45 species, exhibited high MICs when tested with fluconazole (20% of isolates with MICs higher than the clinical breakpoint [8 mg/liter] proposed for C. albicans). Since several of these species have been reported anecdotally from breakthrough infections and therapeutic failures in patients receiving fluconazole, the current study underscores the importance of rapid and accurate yeast identification and may aid clinicians dealing with infections with rarer yeasts to decide whether fluconazole would be appropriate.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00211-19
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Crown copyright 2019. The government of Australia, Canada, or the UK (“the Crown”) owns the copyright interests of authors who are government employees. The Crown Copyright is not transferable.


  • Antifungal resistance
  • Candida
  • Fluconazole
  • MIC
  • Rare yeast species


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