PURPOSEOsteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ) has been reported in patients with a history of aminobisphosphonate use. This study was conducted in order to define ONJ clinically and radiographically and gain insights into its pathophysiology.EXPERIMENTAL DESIGNEleven multiple myeloma (MM) patients with ONJ were included in the study. Patients underwent clinical, biochemical, radiographic, and molecular profiling. Ten MM patients on aminobisphosphonates without ONJ and five healthy volunteers were used as controls for biochemical and molecular studies.RESULTSMM patients with ONJ were treated with either pamidronate (n = 3), zoledronate (n = 4), or both agents sequentially (n = 4) for a mean of 38.7 months. Radiographic studies showed bone sclerosis and fragmentation on plain films and computerized tomography. Quantitative regional analysis of NaF-PET and FDG-PET scans confirmed an increased standardized uptake value (SUVmax) in areas of ONJ. The target to background ratio of SUVmax was significantly greater for NaF-PET compared with FDG-PET scan. Biochemical bone marker data and transcriptional profiling studies showed that genes and proteins involved in osteoblast and osteoclast signaling cascades were significantly down-regulated in patients with ONJ.CONCLUSIONSONJ was associated with a mean duration of 38.7 months of aminobisphosphonate exposure. Radiographic and functional imaging confirmed sites of clinically established ONJ. Gene and protein studies are consistent with altered bone remodeling, evidenced by suppression of both bone resorption and formation.