BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence and the risk factors of osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) in a group of patients treated with zoledronic acid (ZA) for bone metastases from solid tumors and enrolled in a preventive dental program. METHODS: This 5-year retrospective longitudinal study included all consecutive oncological patients who underwent at least one infusion with ZA between 2004 and 2011 for bone metastases due to solid neoplasms. RESULTS: Of the 156 patients enrolled in the study, 17 developed ONJ (10.89%). At the multivariate analysis, severe periodontal disease (P=0.025), tooth extraction (P<0.0001) and starting the preventive dental program after the beginning of ZA therapy (P=0.02) were the only factors which showed a significant association with the occurrence of ONJ. CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated the importance of beginning dental prevention before zoledronic acid exposure in reducing ONJ occurrence, especially in the long term. The results of this research show that control of periodontal disease and an increase in the time between tooth extraction and the first ZA administration are recommended in order to reduce the risk of ONJ development.
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