Osteosarcoma of the jaws (OSJ) is a relatively rare disease, accounting for between 2%
and 10% of all cases of osteosarcoma. It is morphologically and radiologically identical to the
trunk and extremity variant, but distinct in several crucial aspects.
The lesion is characterized by sarcomatous cells which produce a variable amount of osteoid bone.
It arises centrally within the bone and can be subdivided into osteoblastic, chondroblastic and fibroblastic
subtype, depending on the predominant cell type.
Radiographically, these tumors display a spectrum of bone changes from well-demarcated borders
to lytic bone destruction with indefinite margins and variable cortical bone erosion or, in some cases,
images of sclerotic bone.
Therapeutic options for OSJ include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which are employed
according to age of the patient, histological classification and localization of the tumor. Today,
there is no general consensus in the treatment guidelines for the OSJ though surgery represents the
key to the treatment. The main prognostic factor deeply influencing the patient’s prognosis remains
the complete tumor resection with negative surgical margins.
The aim of the present review is to describe state of the art regarding diagnostic and surgical treatment
aspects of the primary osteosarcoma of the jaws.