Retrospective cohort study comparing the risk of severe hepatotoxicity in hospitalized patients treated with echinocandins for invasive candidiasis in the presence of confounding by indication

BMC Infectious Diseases, 2018 Aug 29;18(1):438


To compare the risk of severe hepatotoxicity with anidulafungin versus caspofungin and micafungin in hospitalized adults.


This retrospective cohort study combined data from two large US- based hospital electronic medical record databases. Severe hepatotoxicity was a Grade ≥ 3 liver function test (LFT) post-echinocandin initiation. Adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRRs) were estimated for anidulafungin versus caspofungin and micafungin, overall and in patients with normal baseline LFT (Grade 0).


Treatments included anidulafungin (n = 1700), caspofungin (n = 4431), or micafungin (n = 6547). The proportions with LFT Grade ≥ 3 pre-echinocandin initiation were: anidulafungin 40.4% versus caspofungin 25.9% (p <  0.001) and micafungin 25.6% (p <  0.001). Rates of severe underlying diseases or comorbidities were: critical care admissions: 75.3% versus 52.6 and 48.6%; and organ failures: 69.4% versus 46.7 and 51.5%. Adjusted IRRs of severe hepatotoxicity for anidulafungin versus caspofungin and micafungin were 1.43 (p = 0.002) and 1.19 (p = 0.183) overall, and 0.88 (P = 0.773) and 0.97 (P = 0.945) for normal baseline LFT, respectively.


Accounting for confounders, severe hepatotoxicity risk was not significantly different across echinocandins in this real-world head-to-head study. Anidulafungin was used more frequently in patients with more comorbidities. Those with normal baseline LFT (least susceptible to confounding by indication), showed no elevated hepatotoxicity risk for anidulafungin.

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Vekeman F, Weiss L, Aram J, Ionescu-Ittu R, Moosavi S, Xiao Y, Cheng WY, Bhak RH, Tawadrous M, Capparella MR, Montravers P, Duh MS