En Route towards European Clinical breakpoints for veterinary antimicrobial susceptibility testing: A position paper explaining the VetCAST approach

Pierre Louis Toutain*, Alain Bousquet-Mélou, Peter Damborg, Aude A. Ferran, Dik Mevius, Ludovic Pelligand, Kees T. Veldman, Peter Lees

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


VetCAST is the EUCAST sub-committee for Veterinary Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing. Its remit is to define clinical breakpoints (CBPs) for antimicrobial drugs (AMDs) used in veterinary medicine in Europe. This position paper outlines the procedures and reviews scientific options to solve challenges for the determination of specific CBPs for animal species, drug substances and disease conditions. VetCAST will adopt EUCAST approaches: the initial step will be data assessment; then procedures for decisions on the CBP; and finally the release of recommendations for CBP implementation. The principal challenges anticipated by VetCAST are those associated with the differing modalities of AMD administration, including mass medication, specific long-acting product formulations or local administration. Specific challenges comprise mastitis treatment in dairy cattle, the range of species and within species breed considerations and several other variable factors not relevant to human medicine. Each CBP will be based on consideration of: (i) an epidemiological cut-off value (ECOFF) - the highest MIC that defines the upper end of the wild-type MIC distribution; (ii) a PK/PD breakpoint obtained from pre-clinical pharmacokinetic data [this PK/PD break-point is the highest possible MIC for which a given percentage of animals in the target population achieves a critical value for the selected PK/PD index (fAUC/MIC or fT > MIC)] and (iii) when possible, a clinical cut-off, that is the relationship between MIC and clinical cure. For the latter, VetCAST acknowledges the paucity of such data in veterinary medicine. When a CBP cannot be established, VetCAST will recommend use of ECOFF as surrogate. For decision steps, VetCAST will follow EUCAST procedures involving transparency, consensus and independence. VetCAST will ensure freely available dissemination of information, concerning standards, guidelines, ECOFF, PK/PD breakpoints, CBPs and other relevant information for AST implementation. Finally, after establishing a CBP, VetCAST will promulgate expert comments and/or recommendations associated with CBPs to facilitate their sound implementation in a clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2344
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2017


  • Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing
  • Antimicrobials
  • Breakpoints
  • VetCAST
  • Veterinary


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