Researchers Identify Genetic Variation That Leads to Jaw Issues

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Researchers have pinpointed a genetic variation that increases the risk of developing necrotic jawbone lesions. The condition stems from bisphosphonates.

The study appeared in the online version of The Oncologist.

This research shows that a genetic screening test will be necessary to show who will be able to take these drugs in the future without awful side effects.

There are currently about 3 million women in the United States who take oral bisphosphonates. These bisphosphonates are taken to treat osteoporosis. Bisphosphonates are also taken intravenously by cancer patients.

Bisphosphonates are effective because they bind calcium in the bone and prevent osteoclasts, which are bone cells that break the bone’s mineral structure.

This study is so valuable because of the way it will help future tests on this issue.

Osteonecrosis of the jaw leads to extremely painful bone lesions, which can develop into losing the entire jaw. The condition usually occurs in jaws of people that have some kind of dental disease of had some type of in-depth dental procedure.

An issue for the research team is that there aren’t any reliable numbers when it comes to the cases of ONJ involving patients taking oral bisphosphonates. Some studies indicate it impacts 1 in 1,000 people with others claim it affects 1 of 100,000 people, according to the American College of Rheumatology.

Genetic factors also are involved when determine who will be impacted by ONJ.

Future studies and tests will be conducted to determine who can take oral bisphosphonates without an increased risk of developing ONJ and who should stay away from the oral bisphosphonates.

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