The safety and efficacy of caspofungin in the treatment of esophageal candidiasis was evaluated in one large, controlled, noninferiority, clinical trial and two smaller dose-response studies.
In all 3 studies, patients were required to have symptoms and microbiological documentation of esophageal candidiasis; most patients had advanced AIDS (with CD4 counts <50/mm3).
Of the 166 patients in the large study who had culture-confirmed esophageal candidiasis at baseline, 120 had Candida albicans and 2 had Candida tropicalis as the sole baseline pathogen whereas 44 had mixed baseline cultures containing C. albicans and one or more additional Candida species.
In the large, randomized, double-blind study comparing caspofungin 50 mg/day versus intravenous fluconazole 200 mg/day for the treatment of esophageal candidiasis, patients were treated for an average of 9 days (range 7 — 21 days). Favorable overall response at 5 to 7 days following discontinuation of study therapy required both complete resolution of symptoms and significant endoscopic improvement. The definition of endoscopic response was based on severity of disease at baseline using a 4-grade scale and required at least a two-grade reduction from baseline endoscopic score or reduction to grade 0 for patients with a baseline score of 2 or less.
The proportion of patients with a favorable overall response was comparable for caspofungin and fluconazole as shown in Table 12.Table 12: Favorable Response Rates for Patients with Esophageal Candidiasis*
|Caspofungin||Fluconazole||% Difference† (95% CI)|
|Day 5-7 post-treatment||66/81 (81.5%)||80/94 (85.1%)||-3.6 (-14.7, 7.5)|
|* Analysis excluded patients without documented esophageal candidiasis or patients not receiving at least 1 day of study therapy.† Calculated as caspofungin – fluconazole|
The proportion of patients with a favorable symptom response was also comparable (90.1% and 89.4% for caspofungin and fluconazole, respectively). In addition, the proportion of patients with a favorable endoscopic response was comparable (85.2% and 86.2% for caspofungin and fluconazole, respectively).
As shown in Table 13, the esophageal candidiasis relapse rates at the Day 14 post-treatment visit were similar for the two groups. At the Day 28 post-treatment visit, the group treated with caspofungin had a numerically higher incidence of relapse; however, the difference was not statistically significant.Table 13: Relapse Rates at 14 and 28 Days Post-Therapy in Patients with Esophageal Candidiasis at Baseline
|Caspofungin||Fluconazole||% Difference* (95% CI)|
|Day 14 post-treatment||7/66 (10.6%)||6/76 (7.9%)||2.7 (-6.9, 12.3)|
|Day 28 post-treatment||18/64 (28.1%)||12/72 (16.7%)||11.5 (-2.5, 25.4)|
|*Calculated as caspofungin – fluconazole|
In this trial, which was designed to establish noninferiority of caspofungin to fluconazole for the treatment of esophageal candidiasis, 122 (70%) patients also had oropharyngeal candidiasis. A favorable response was defined as complete resolution of all symptoms of oropharyngeal disease and all visible oropharyngeal lesions. The proportion of patients with a favorable oropharyngeal response at the 5- to 7-day post-treatment visit was numerically lower for caspofungin; however, the difference was not statistically significant. Oropharyngeal candidiasis relapse rates at Day 14 and Day 28 post-treatment visits were statistically significantly higher for caspofungin than for fluconazole. The results are shown in Table 14.
Table 14: Oropharyngeal Candidiasis Response Rates at 5 to 7 Days Post-Therapy and Relapse Rates at 14 and 28 Days Post-Therapy in Patients with Oropharyngeal and Esophageal Candidiasis at Baseline
|Caspofungin||Fluconazole||% Difference* (95% CI)|
|Response Rate Day 5-7 post-treatment||40/56 (71.4%)||55/66 (83.3%)||-11.9 (-26.8, 3.0)|
|Relapse Rate Day 14 post-treatment||17/40 (42.5%)||7/53 (13.2%)||29.3 (11.5, 47.1)|
|Relapse Rate Day 28 post-treatment||23/39 (59.0%)||18/51 (35.3%)||23.7 (3.4, 43.9)|
|* Calculated as caspofungin – fluconazole|
The results from the two smaller dose-ranging studies corroborate the efficacy of caspofungin for esophageal candidiasis that was demonstrated in the larger study.
Caspofungin was associated with favorable outcomes in 7 of 10 esophageal C. albicans infections refractory to at least 200 mg of fluconazole given for 7 days, although the in vitro susceptibility of the infecting isolates to fluconazole was not known.
Sixty-nine patients between the ages of 18 and 80 with invasive aspergillosis were enrolled in an open-label, noncomparative study to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of caspofungin. Enrolled patients had previously been refractory to or intolerant of other antifungal therapy(ies). Refractory patients were classified as those who had disease progression or failed to improve despite therapy for at least 7 days with amphotericin B, lipid formulations of amphotericin B, itraconazole, or an investigational azole with reported activity against Aspergillus. Intolerance to previous therapy was defined as a doubling of creatinine (or creatinine ≥2.5 mg/dL while on therapy), other acute reactions, or infusion-related toxicity. To be included in the study, patients with pulmonary disease must have had definite (positive tissue histopathology or positive culture from tissue obtained by an invasive procedure) or probable (positive radiographic or computed tomography evidence with supporting culture from bronchoalveolar lavage or sputum, galactomannan enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and/or polymerase chain reaction) invasive aspergillosis. Patients with extrapulmonary disease had to have definite invasive aspergillosis. Patients were administered a single 70 mg loading dose of caspofungin and subsequently dosed with 50 mg daily. The mean duration of therapy was 33.7 days, with a range of 1 to 162 days.
An independent expert panel evaluated patient data, including diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis, response and tolerability to previous antifungal therapy, treatment course on caspofungin, and clinical outcome.
A favorable response was defined as either complete resolution (complete response) or clinically meaningful improvement (partial response) of all signs and symptoms and attributable radiographic findings. Stable, nonprogressive disease was considered to be an unfavorable response.
Among the 69 patients enrolled in the study, 63 met entry diagnostic criteria and had outcome data; and of these, 52 patients received treatment for greater than 7 days. Fifty-three (84%) were refractory to previous antifungal therapy and 10 (16%) were intolerant. Forty-five patients had pulmonary disease and 18 had extrapulmonary disease. Underlying conditions were hematologic malignancy (N=24), allogeneic bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant (N=18), organ transplant (N=8), solid tumor (N=3), or other conditions (N=10). All patients in the study received concomitant therapies for their other underlying conditions. Eighteen patients received tacrolimus and caspofungin concomitantly, of whom 8 also received mycophenolate mofetil.
Overall, the expert panel determined that 41% (26/63) of patients receiving at least one dose of caspofungin had a favorable response. For those patients who received greater than 7 days of therapy with caspofungin, 50% (26/52) had a favorable response. The favorable response rates for patients who were either refractory to or intolerant of previous therapies were 36% (19/53) and 70% (7/10), respectively. The response rates among patients with pulmonary disease and extrapulmonary disease were 47% (21/45) and 28% (5/18), respectively. Among patients with extrapulmonary disease, 2 of 8 patients who also had definite, probable, or possible CNS involvement had a favorable response. Two of these 8 patients had progression of disease and manifested CNS involvement while on therapy.
Caspofungin is effective for the treatment of invasive aspergillosis in patients who are refractory to or intolerant of itraconazole, amphotericin B, and/or lipid formulations of amphotericin B. However, the efficacy of caspofungin for initial treatment of invasive aspergillosis has not been evaluated in comparator-controlled clinical studies.
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