Oxazolidinone antibiotics such as linezolid have shown significant therapeutic effects in patients with extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis (TB) despite modest effects in rodents and no demonstrable early bactericidal activity in human phase 2 trials. We show that monotherapy with either linezolid or AZD5847, a second-generation oxazolidinone, reduced bacterial load at necropsy in Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected cynomolgus macaques with active TB. This effect coincided with a decline in 2-deoxy-2-[18F]-fluoro-D-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET) imaging avidity in the lungs of these animals and with reductions in pulmonary pathology measured by serial computed tomography (CT) scans over 2 months of monotherapy. In a parallel phase 2 clinical study of linezolid in patients infected with XDR-TB, we also collected PET/CT imaging data from subjects receiving linezolid that had been added to their failing treatment regimens. Quantitative comparisons of PET/CT imaging changes in these human subjectswere similar inmagnitude to those observed inmacaques, demonstrating that the therapeutic effect of these oxazolidinones can be reproduced in this model of experimental chemotherapy. PET/CT imaging may be useful as an early quantitative measure of drug efficacy against TB in human patients.
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