Combination therapy in treatment of experimental pulmonary aspergillosis: In vitro and in vivo correlations of the concentration- and dose-dependent interactions between anidulafungin and voriconazole by bliss independence drug interaction analysis
We studied the antifungal activity of anidulafungin (AFG) in combination with voriconazole (VRC) against experimental invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) in persistently neutropenic rabbits and further explored the in vitro and in vivo correlations by using Bliss independence drug interaction analysis. Treatment groups consisted of those receiving AFG at 5 (AFG5 group) and 10 (AFG10 group) mg/kg of body weight/day, VRC at 10 mg/kg every 8 h (VRC group), AFG5 plus VRC (AFG5+VRC group), and AFG10 plus VRC (AFG10+VRC group) and untreated controls. Survival throughout the study was 60% for the AFG5+VRC group, 50% for the VRC group, 27% for the AFG10+VRC group, 22% for the AFG5 group, 18% for the AFG10 group, and 0% for control rabbits (P < 0.001). There was a significant reduction of organism-mediated pulmonary injury, measured by infarct scores, lung weights, residual fungal burdens, and galactomannan indexes, in AFG5+VRC-treated rabbits versus those treated with AFG5 and VRC alone (P < 0.05). In comparison, AFG10+VRC significantly lowered only infarct scores and lung weights in comparison to those of AFG10-treated animals (P < 0.05). AFG10+VRC showed no significant difference in other outcome variables. Significant Bliss synergy was found in vivo between AFG5 and VRC, with observed effects being 24 to 30% higher than expected levels if the drugs were acting independently. These synergistic interactions were also found between AFG and VRC in vitro. However, for AFG10+VRC, only independence and antagonism were observed among the outcome variables. We concluded that the combination of AFG with VRC in treatment of experimental IPA in persistently neutropenic rabbits was independent to synergistic at a dosage of 5 mg/kg/day but independent to antagonistic at 10 mg/kg/day, as assessed by Bliss independence analysis, suggesting that higher dosages of an echinocandin may be deleterious to the combination.