<em>In Vitro</em> and <em>In Vivo</em> Interactions of TOR Inhibitor AZD8055 and Azoles against Pathogenic Fungi
Microbiol Spectr. 2022 Jan 12:e0200721. doi: 10.1128/spectrum.02007-21. Online ahead of print.
In the present study, in vitro and in vivo interactions of TOR inhibitor AZD8055 and azoles, including itraconazole, voriconazole, posaconazole and fluconazole, against a variety of pathogenic fungi were investigated. A total of 69 isolates were studied via broth microdilution checkerboard technique, including 23 isolates of Aspergillus spp., 20 isolates of Candida spp., 9 isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans complex, and 17 isolates of Exophiala dermatitidis. The results revealed that AZD8055 individually did not exert any significant antifungal activity. However, synergistic effects between AZD8055 and itraconazole, voriconazole or posaconazole were observed in 23 (33%), 13 (19%) and 57 (83%) isolates, respectively, including azole-resistant A. fumigatus strains and Candida spp., potentiating the efficacy of azoles. The combination effect of AZD8055 and fluconazole was investigated against non-auris Candida spp. and C. neoformans complex. Synergism between AZD8055 and fluconazole was observed in six strains (60%) of Candida spp., resulting in reversion of fluconazole resistance. Synergistic combinations resulted in 4-fold to 256-fold reduction of effective MICs of AZD8055 and azoles. No antagonism was observed. In vivo effects of AZD8055-azole combinations were evaluated by survival assay in Galleria mellonella model infected with A. fumigatus strain AF002, E. dermatitidis strain BMU00038, C. auris strain 383, C. albicans strain R15, and C. neoformans complex strain Z2. AZD8055 acted synergistically with azoles and significantly increased larvae survival (P < 0.05). In summary, the results suggested that AZD8055 combined with azoles may help to enhance the antifungal susceptibilities of azoles against pathogenic fungi and had the potential to overcome azole resistance issues. IMPORTANCE Limited options of antifungals and the emergence of drug resistance in fungal pathogens has been a multifaceted clinical challenge. Combination therapy represents a valuable alternative to antifungal monotherapy. The target of rapamycin (TOR), a conserved serine/threonine kinase from yeast to humans, participates in a signaling pathway that governs cell growth and proliferation in response to nutrient availability, growth factors, and environmental stimuli. AZD8055 is an orally bioavailable, potent, and selective TOR kinase inhibitor that binds to the ATP binding cleft of TOR kinase and inhibits both TORC1 and TORC2. Synergism between AZD8055 and azoles suggested that the concomitant application of AZD8055 and azoles may help to enhance azole therapeutic efficacy and impede azole resistance. TOR inhibitor with fungal specific target is promising to be served as combination regimen with azoles.