Sinus tracts--an early sign of bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis of the jaws?

Department of Oral Medicine, Infection and Immunity, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
Journal of oral and maxillofacial surgery: official journal of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (Impact Factor: 1.58). 04/2009; 67(3):593-601. DOI: 10.1016/j.joms.2008.09.031
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis of the jaw (BONJ) is defined as the presence of exposed bone for at least 8 weeks in patients with exposure to bisphosphonates and no history of radiotherapy to the jaw. We report 5 patients with a history of bisphosphonate use, sinus tracts or deep periodontal pockets and radiographic findings typical for BONJ but with no evidence of exposed necrotic bone at the first evaluation visit.
The mean age was 70 years (range 66-77) and all were males. Patients had multiple myeloma (2), multiple myeloma and prostate cancer (1), monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance (1) and osteoporosis (1). Three cases involved the mandible and 2 the maxilla. Four patients were on intravenous pamidronate and/or zoledonic acid and 1, alendronate. All cases except 1 (with deep periodontal pockets) presented with intraoral draining sinus tracts.
Radiographic findings included persistence of extraction socket (2), mottled radio-opacity and radiolucency (1), presence of sequestrum (1) and no significant findings (1). Subsequently, 4 patients developed exposed bone and 1 patient had necrotic bone removed from the jaws.
We report 5 patients with a history of bisphosphonate therapy where 4 patients had persistent sinus tracts and a fifth, severe bone loss. Four patients had radiographic findings typical for BONJ, and all subsequently developed necrotic bone. We propose modifying the definition of BONJ to include a category of "suspected BONJ" Stage 0(sa) where patients have persistent sinus tracts or localized deep periodontal pockets and typical radiographic findings for BONJ but are asymptomatic, and Stage 0(ss) for those who are symptomatic.

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    ABSTRACT: Bisphosphonates such as alendronate, risedronate and zoledronate have revolutionised the treatment for osteoporosis and Paget's disease. These drugs reduce fracture risk and probably mortality in patients with osteoporosis. However, they have a long in vivo half-life following cessation and may be associated with delayed dental healing and even the devastating complication of osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). Extensive media attention highlighting this issue has caused much concern among patients and healthcare professionals. This paper seeks to provide treating clinicians with a balanced multi-disciplinary review of the available evidence pertaining to this issue and practical advice regarding prevention and management of ONJ.
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: The definite incidence rate of bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaws (BRONJ) is still unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate prevalence of BRONJ in a group of breast cancer patients applying the classification of the Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons 2009. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Between 2000 and 2008, 63 premenopausal early breast cancer patients who were free of metastases were treated with 4 mg zoledronic acid every 6 months over 3 years as participants of a multicenter, randomized, controlled, adjuvant breast cancer medication trial. Patients were not informed about the risk of jaw necrosis. None reported tooth or jaw complaints during the breast cancer follow-up examinations. In 2010, 48 patients of this cohort were investigated concerning BRONJ by clinical and radiological examinations. RESULTS: No advanced stages (AAOMS 2009)were detected. However, five patients (10.4 %) presented purulent (2) and nonpurulent (3) fistulas and radiological signs correlating to BRONJ stage 0. CONCLUSION: Although no case of advanced BRONJ was detected, the study revealed a high prevalence of BRONJ stage 0. This supports the need for tight cooperation between dentists and medical specialists prescribing bisphosphonates including dental pre-therapeutic and follow-up examinations. Adaption of the BRONJ classification taking account to bone exposure via fistulas is recommended. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: BRONJ is said to be a complication linked to high-dosage bisphosphonate therapy. The study demonstrates that even after application of zoledronate in a low-dose protocol, early BRONJ occurred. Radiological signs solely are not sufficient to confirm BRONJ; clinical signs are mandatory.
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