2019 Volume 247 Issue 2 Pages 75-86
Bisphosphonates (BPs) have been used as antiresorptive agents to treat patients with osteoporosis or metastatic bone cancer, each of which is characterized by bone loss due to the increased bone resorption. However, BPs could cause osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), known as bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ). ONJ is associated with severe pain and deteriorated quality of life. ONJ is also caused by administration of denosumab, a monoclonal antibody against receptor activator of NFκB ligand (RANKL), that functions as a powerful antiresorptive agent. Accordingly, antiresorptive agent-related ONJ (ARONJ) has been advocated, the incidence of which is continuing to increase in Japan as a super-aging society. Importantly, the jawbone is more susceptible to infection compared with bones in other parts of the body, due to the unique anatomical and physiological characteristics; for example, the jawbone with a high remodeling rate is stimulated by teeth during mastication. The risk factors of ARONJ include dental infection, poor occlusal or oral hygiene status, and bone-invasive dental treatment, such as tooth extraction, dental implants, and dentures. Proper collaboration between doctors and dentists is of utmost importance to understand the current status of ARONJ and prevent developing ARONJ. It is also important to ensure that the patients treated with BPs or denosumab can receive appropriate dental treatment. More recently, angiogenesis inhibitors were reported to cause ONJ; thus, medication-related ONJ (MRONJ) has been advocated. This article overviews the concept of MRONJ by focusing on antiresorptive agents and the status of BRONJ in Japan.