Interventions for managing medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw

Natalie H Beth-Tasdogan, Benjamin Mayer, Heba Hussein, Oliver Zolk
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017 October 6, 10: CD012432

BACKGROUND: Medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ) is a severe adverse reaction experienced by some individuals to certain medicines commonly used in the treatment of cancer and osteoporosis (e.g. bisphosphonates, denosumab and antiangiogenic agents) and involves the progressive destruction of bone in the mandible or maxilla. Depending on the drug, its dosage, and the duration of exposure, the occurrence of this adverse drug reaction may be rare (e.g. following the oral administration of bisphosphonate or denosumab treatments for osteoporosis, or antiangiogenic agent-targeted cancer treatment) or common (e.g. following intravenous bisphosphonate for cancer treatment). MRONJ is associated with significant morbidity, adversely affects quality of life (QoL), and is challenging to treat.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the effects of interventions versus no treatment, placebo, or an active control for the prophylaxis of MRONJ in people exposed to antiresorptive or antiangiogenic drugs.To assess the effects of non-surgical or surgical interventions (either singly or in combination) versus no treatment, placebo, or an active control for the treatment of people with manifest MRONJ.

SEARCH METHODS: Cochrane Oral Health's Information Specialist searched the following databases: Cochrane Oral Health's Trials Register (to 23 November 2016), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (the Cochrane Library, 2016, Issue 10), MEDLINE Ovid (1946 to 23 November 2016), and Embase Ovid (23 May 2016 to 23 November 2016). The US National Institutes of Health Trials Registry ( and the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform were searched for ongoing trials. No restrictions were placed on language or publication status when searching the electronic databases; however, the search of Embase was restricted to the last six months due to the Cochrane Embase Project to identify all clinical trials and add them to CENTRAL.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing one modality of intervention with another for the prevention or treatment of MRONJ. For 'prophylaxis of MRONJ', the primary outcome of interest was the incidence of MRONJ; secondary outcomes were QoL, time-to-event, and rate of complications and side effects of the intervention. For 'treatment of established MRONJ', the primary outcome of interest was healing of MRONJ; secondary outcomes were QoL, recurrence, and rate of complications and side effects of the intervention.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently screened the search results, extracted the data, and assessed the risk of bias in the included studies. For dichotomous outcomes, we reported the risk ratio (RR) (or rate ratio) and 95% confidence intervals (CI).

MAIN RESULTS: We included five RCTs (1218 participants) in the review. Three trials focused on the prophylaxis of MRONJ. Two trials investigated options for the treatment of established MRONJ. The RCTs included only participants treated with bisphosphonates and, thus, did not cover the entire spectrum of medications associated with MRONJ. Prophylaxis of MRONJOne trial compared standard care with regular dental examinations in three-month intervals and preventive treatments (including antibiotics before dental extractions and the use of techniques for wound closure that avoid exposure and contamination of bone) in men with metastatic prostate cancer treated with zoledronic acid. The intervention seemed to lower the risk of MRONJ: RR 0.10; 95% CI 0.02 to 0.39 (253 participants; low-quality evidence). Secondary outcomes were not evaluated.As dentoalveolar surgery is considered a common predisposing event for developing MRONJ, one trial investigated the effect of plasma rich in growth factors (PRGF) for preventing MRONJ in people with cancer undergoing dental extractions. There was insufficient evidence to support or refute a benefit of PRGF on MRONJ incidence when compared with standard treatment (RR 0.08, 95% CI 0.00 to 1.51; 176 participants; very low-quality evidence). Secondary outcomes were not reported. In another trial comparing wound closure by primary intention with wound closure by secondary intention after dental extractions in people treated with oral bisphosphonates (700 participants), no cases of intraoperative complications or postoperative MRONJ were observed. QoL was not investigated. Treatment of MRONJOne trial analysed hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) treatment used in addition to standard care (antiseptic rinses, antibiotics, and surgery) compared with standard care alone. HBO in addition to standard care did not significantly improve healing from MRONJ compared with standard care alone (at last follow-up: RR 1.56; 95% CI 0.77 to 3.18; 46 participants included in the analysis; very low-quality evidence). QoL data were presented qualitatively as intragroup comparisons; hence, an effect estimate of treatment on QoL was not possible. Other secondary outcomes were not reported.The other RCT found no significant difference between autofluorescence- and tetracycline fluorescence-guided sequestrectomy for the surgical treatment of MRONJ at any timepoint (at one-year follow-up: RR 1.05; 95% CI 0.86 to 1.30; 34 participants included in the analysis; very low-quality evidence). Secondary outcomes were not reported.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Prophylaxis of MRONJOne open-label RCT provided some evidence that dental examinations in three-month intervals and preventive treatments may be more effective than standard care for reducing the incidence of MRONJ in individuals taking intravenous bisphosphonates for advanced cancer. We assessed the certainty of the evidence to be low.There is insufficient evidence to either claim or refute a benefit of either of the interventions tested for prophylaxis of MRONJ (i.e. PRGF inserted into the postextraction alveolus during dental extractions, and wound closure by primary or secondary intention after dental extractions). Treatment of MRONJAvailable evidence is insufficient to either claim or refute a benefit for hyperbaric oxygen therapy as an adjunct to conventional therapy. There is also insufficient evidence to draw conclusions about autofluorescence-guided versus tetracycline fluorescence-guided bone surgery.

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