Frequencies and risk factors for bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw in cancer patients: A matched case-control study

Jason Kamen Lau, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Bisphosphonates represent a unique class of drugs that effectively treat and prevent a variety of bone-related disorders including metastatic bone disease and osteoporosis. High tolerance and high efficacy rates quickly ranked bisphosphonates as the standard of care for bone-related diseases. However, in the early 2000s, case reports began to surface that linked bisphosphonates with osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ). Since that time, studies conducted have corroborated the linkage. However, as with most disease states, many factors can contribute to the onset of disease. The aim of this study was to determine which comorbid factors presented an increased risk for developing ONJ in cancer patients. Using a case-control study design, investigators used a combination of ICD-9 codes and chart review to identify confirmed cases of ONJ at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC). Each case was then matched to five controls based on age, gender, race/ethnicity, and primary cancer diagnosis. Data querying and chart review provided information on variables of interest. These variables included bisphosphonate exposure, glucocorticoids exposure, smoking history, obesity, and diabetes. Statistical analysis was conducted using PASW (Predictive Analytics Software) Statistics, Version 18 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, Illinois). One hundred twelve (112) cases were identified as confirmed cases of ONJ. Variables were run using univariate logistic regression to determine significance (p < .05); significant variables were included in the final conditional logistic regression model. Concurrent use of bisphosphonates and glucocorticoids (OR, 18.60; CI, 8.85 to 39.12; p < .001), current smokers (OR, 2.52; CI, 1.21 to 5.25; p = .014), and presence of diabetes (OR, 1.84; CI, 1.06 to 3.20; p = .030) were found to increase the risk for developing ONJ. Obesity was not associated significantly with ONJ development. In this study, cancer patients that received bisphosphonates as part of their therapeutic regimen were found to have an 18-fold increase in their risk of developing ONJ. Other factors included smoking and diabetes. More studies examining the concurrent use of glucocorticoids and bisphosphonates may be able to strengthen any correlations.

Subject Area

Dentistry|Pharmacy sciences|Public health

Recommended Citation

Lau, Jason Kamen, "Frequencies and risk factors for bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw in cancer patients: A matched case-control study" (2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1518164.