INTRODUCTION: Metastases involving the oral cavity account for 1% to 8% of all malignancies in the oral cavity Involvement of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is uncommon.
METHOD AND RESULTS: We conducted a review of the literature between 1954 and 2008 regarding metastases to the TMJ. In total, 48 patients were found and in 28 patients a previous history of malignant neoplasm was known. The primary tumor was most commonly found in the breast (34%), followed by the lung (21%). Adenocarcinoma was predominant (72.97%). Three new patients with TMJ pain as a first symptom for a disseminated tumor are also examined here.
CONCLUSION: Establishing an exact diagnosis of metastatic lesions in the TMJ can provide a diagnostic challenge. Clinicians should include the suspicion of cancer in the differential diagnosis, in particular when patients have a previous history of malignant neoplasm or do not respond to treatment appropriately.