OBJECTIVE: Bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BONJ) is a common complication of bisphosphonate treatment that has been well documented over the past decade. Nevertheless, its pathogenesis is poorly understood, and treatment guidelines are based mostly on expert recommendations. Clinicians must be aware of malignancy mimicking BONJ, of which a few cases have been documented in the literature.
STUDY DESIGN: Three patients undergoing long-term treatment with intravenous bisphosphonates for malignant disease demonstrated the distinct diagnostic signs of BONJ. Surgical treatment was performed by resecting the affected bone. In all cases, histologic specimens were taken for analysis.
RESULTS: Histologic analysis of the bone specimen with surrounding soft tissue revealed necrotic bone with signs of inflammation, but also with cells of the underlying malignant disease.
CONCLUSIONS: Clinical and radiographic diagnosis of BONJ should be confirmed by histologic analysis in patients with underlying malignant disease.