To conduct a multicentre study to establish the critical concentration (CC) for clofazimine (CFZ) for drug susceptibility testing (DST) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis on the MGIT™960™ system using the distribution of minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) and genotypic analyses of Rv0678 mutations.
In phase I of the study, the MIC distribution of laboratory strains (H37Rv and in vitro-selected Rv0678 mutants) and clinical pan-susceptible isolates were determined (n = 70). In phase II, a tentative CC for CFZ (n = 55) was proposed. In phase III, the proposed CC was validated using clinical drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) isolates stratified by Rv0678 mutation (n = 85).
The MIC distribution of CFZ for laboratory and clinical pan-susceptible strains ranged between 0.125 μg/ml and 0.5 μg/ml. As the MIC values of DR-TB isolates used for phase II ranged between 0.25 μg/ml and 1 μg/ml, a CC of 1 μg/ml was proposed. Validation of the CC in phase III showed that probably susceptible and probably resistant Rv0678 mutants overlapped at 1 μg/ml. We therefore recommend a CC of 1 μg/ml, with additional testing at 0.5 μg/ml to define an intermediate category. This was the first comprehensive study to establish a CC for routine phenotypic DST of CFZ using the MGIT960 system to guide therapeutic decisions.