Retinoids—a class of chemical compounds derived from vitamin A or chemically related to it—are used especially in dermatology, oncohematology and infectious diseases. It has been shown that retinoids—from their first generation—exert a potent antimicrobial activity against a wide range of pathogens, including bacteria, fungi and viruses. In this review, we summarize current evidence on retinoids’ efficacy as antifungal agents. Studies were identified by searching electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, Cochrane, Trials.gov) and reference lists of respective articles from 1946 to today. Only articles published in the English language were included. A total of thirty-nine articles were found according to the criteria. In this regard, to date, In vitro and In vivo studies have demonstrated the efficacy of retinoids against a broad-spectrum of human opportunistic fungal pathogens, including yeast fungi that normally colonize the skin and mucosal surfaces of humans such as Candida spp., Rhodotorula mucilaginosa and Malassezia furfur, as well as environmental moulds such as Aspergillus spp., Fonsecae monofora and many species of dermatophytes associated with fungal infections both in humans and animals. Notwithstanding a lack of double-blind clinical trials, the efficacy, tolerability and safety profile of retinoids have been demonstrated against localized and systemic fungal infections.
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