Jaw osteonecrosis related to bisphosphonate treatment of bone metastasis

Luca Raffaelli, Giulio Maccauro, Paolo Francesco Manicone, Laura Scaramuzzo, Pierfrancesco Rossi Iommetti, Calogero Graci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


The efficacy of bisphosphonate in controlling skeletally-related event in cancer patients without a great number of adverse events has resulted in a widespread use of these medications in oncology. Zoledronic acid and pamidronate are the most common bisphosphonates intravenously administered as a preventive treatment of bone complications encountered in multiple myeloma, as well as a palliative treatment of bone metastases in a large variety of solid tumours including breast, prostate and lung cancers. However, in recent years a relationship has been established between these drugs and a new bone injury characterised by avascular necrosis of bone that was isolated to the jaws. This paper reviews the literature concerning the discovery of this disease, its clinical, radiological and histological manifestations; its pathogenesis, with a look at the treatment and future options in preventing this complication and in treating hypercalcemia and bone lytic lesions in solid tumours.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-121
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Bone Neoplasms
  • Diphosphonates
  • Humans
  • Jaw Diseases
  • Lung Neoplasms
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Osteonecrosis


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