Cefiderocol Activity against Clinical Pseudomonas aeruginosa Isolates Exhibiting Ceftolozane-Tazobactam Resistance


Mutations in the AmpC-AmpR region are associated with treatment-emergent ceftolozane-tazobactam (TOL-TAZ) and ceftazidime-avibactam (CAZ-AVI) resistance. We sought to determine if these mutations impact susceptibility to the novel cephalosporin-siderophore compound cefiderocol.

Thirty-two paired isolates from 16 patients with index P. aeruginosa isolates susceptible to TOL-TAZ and subsequent P. aeruginosa isolates available after TOL-TAZ exposure from January 2019 to December 2020 were included. TOL-TAZ, CAZ-AVI, imipenem-relebactam (IMI-REL), and cefiderocol minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were determined using broth microdilution. Whole-genome sequencing of paired isolates was used to identify mechanisms of resistance to cefiderocol that emerged, focusing on putative mechanisms of resistance to cefiderocol or earlier siderophore-antibiotic conjugates based on the previously published literature.

Analyzing the 16 pairs of P. aeruginosa isolates, ≥4-fold increases in cefiderocol MICs occurred in 4 of 16 isolates. Cefiderocol nonsusceptibility criteria were met for only 1 of the 4 isolates, using Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute criteria. Specific mechanisms identified included the following: AmpC E247K (2 isolates), MexR A66V and L57D (1 isolate each), and AmpD G116D (1 isolate) substitutions. For both isolates with AmpC E247K mutations, ≥4-fold MIC increases occurred for both TOL-TAZ and CAZ-AVI, while a ≥4-fold reduction in IMI-REL MICs was observed.

Our findings suggest that alterations in the target binding sites of P. aeruginosa–derived AmpC β-lactamases have the potential to reduce the activity of 3 of 4 novel β-lactams (ie, ceftolozane-tazobactam, ceftazidime-avibactam, and cefiderocol) and potentially increase susceptibility to imipenem-relebactam. These findings are in need of validation in a larger cohort.