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Keywords:

  • multiple myeloma;
  • osteonecrosis of the jaw;
  • bisphosphonates;
  • pamidronate;
  • zoledronic acid

Summary

The incidence, characteristics and risk factors for the development of osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) were evaluated among 303 myeloma patients. Only patients who received bisphosphonates developed ONJ (28/254; 11%). Zoledronic acid produced 9·5-fold greater risk for developing ONJ than pamidronate alone (P = 0·042) and 4·5-fold greater risk than subsequent use of pamidronate + zoledronic acid (P = 0·018). Use of thalidomide and number of bisphosphonate infusions also increased the risk for ONJ by 2·4-fold (P = 0·043), and 4·9-fold respectively (P = 0·012). ONJ developed earlier among patients receiving zoledronic acid. Our data indicates that administration of zoledronic acid for more than 2 years or in combination with thalidomide requires caution in myeloma.