Purpose: Osteoradionecrosis (ORN) is a well-known complication of head and neck radiation therapy. Statistically, the mandible is the most commonly affected site. The incidental finding of malignancy in the resection specimen has been documented but is somewhat rare. The aim of this review is to investigate the presence of recurrent carcinoma and sarcoma or new primary malignancies in resection specimens previously diagnosed and treated as ORN. Patients and Methods: This study is a retrospective case series. We conducted a chart review of all cases managed at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine/Jackson Memorial Hospital. The inclusion criteria included a history of head and neck carcinoma treated with radiation of at least 6,000 cGy; clinical diagnosis of ORN; and surgical intervention with osseous resection for treatment of ORN. The study endpoint measured included microscopic evidence of malignancy in the resected ORN specimen. Additional data collected included gender, age, and type of primary pathology. Results: A total of 564 patients met the inclusion criteria. Of these patients, 14 had microscopic evidence of cancer in the specimen (2.48%) and 5 had a proven second primary malignancy in the foregut (1 in the lung, 0.18%, and 4 in the oropharynx, 0.70%). In 1 of the 14 patients, a high-grade sarcoma was diagnosed and the patient died within 1 year of diagnosis. In the treatment of our ORN patient population, a total of 19 malignancies were found collectively (3.37%). Of the 564 patients, 352 were men and 212 were women. The median age was 46 years (range, 33 to 97 years). Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma represented 531 cases in our sample, followed by 28 cases of salivary gland carcinoma and only 5 cases of sarcoma. Conclusions: Although the finding of malignancy in ORN patients is relatively rare (3.37% in this study), oral and maxillofacial surgeons should be cognizant of its potential presence. The treatment of malignant disease is different than that of ORN, and a multidisciplinary treatment approach is recommended if a malignancy is diagnosed in an ORN patient.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Oral Surgery