Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 29177421
J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 2017 Nov;
Background: Owing to the emergence of multiresistant Plasmodium falciparum parasites in Southeast Asia, along with the impressive decrease in the efficacy of the endoperoxide compound artemisinin and of artemisinin-based combination therapies, the development of novel antimalarial drugs or combinations is required. Although several antiplasmodial molecules, such as endoperoxide-based compounds, are in advanced research or development, we do not know whether resistance to artemisinin derivatives might impact the efficacy of these new compounds.
Objectives: To address this issue, the antiplasmodial efficacy of trioxaquines, hybrid endoperoxide-based molecules, was explored, along with their ability to select in vitro resistant parasites under discontinuous and dose-escalating drug pressure.
Methods: The in vitro susceptibilities of artemisinin- and trioxaquine-resistant laboratory strains and recent Cambodian field isolates were evaluated by different phenotypic and genotypic assays.
Results: Trioxaquines tested presented strong cross-resistance with artemisinin both in the artemisinin-resistant laboratory F32-ART5 line and in Cambodian field isolates. Trioxaquine drug pressure over 4 years led to the in vitro selection of the F32-DU line, which is resistant to trioxaquine and artemisinin, similar to the F32-ART lineage. F32-DU whole genome sequencing (WGS) revealed that resistance to trioxaquine was associated with the same non-synonymous mutation in the propeller domain of the K13 protein (M476I) that was found in the F32-ART lineage.
Conclusions: These worrisome results indicate the risk of cross-resistance between artemisinins and endoperoxide-based antiplasmodial drugs in the development of the K13 mutant parasites and question the usefulness of these molecules in the future therapeutic arsenal.