The BMP cancer risk for cervical spinal fusion: 5 new findings

Written by Laura Dyrda | September 10, 2014 | Print  |

An article published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery examines the cancer risk in patients who undergo cervical spine surgery with bone morphogenetic protein to enhance fusion.

In recent years, the Food and Drug Administration reported higher incidence of cancer in patients undergoing spinal fusion with a high dose of rhBMP-2. The researchers examined 467,916 Medicare patients who underwent spinal arthrodesis from 2005 to 2010. They excluded patients with pre-existing cancer and followed patients for nearly three years on average.


The researchers in this study included physicians Jason W. Savage, MD, Willington K. Hsu, MD, and Paul A. Anderson, MD.


The researchers found:


1. Relative cancer risk after BMP exposure was 0.938, which is significant.


2. Among patients who received BMP, 5.9 percent developed invasive cancer, compared with 6.5 percent of patients in the control group.


3. Males had a 0.98 risk of developing cancer after BMP while females had a 0.93 risk.


4. The control group had a higher incidence of cancer in each type, except pancreatic cancer. "Recent clinical use of BMP was not associated with a detectable increase in the risk of cancer within a mean 2.9-year time window," concluded the study authors.


5. Another study published in the same issue of JBJS found rhBMP-2 was associated with increased complication risks in propensity score-adjusted model and complications included hematoma or seroma, dysphagia and pulmonary complications occurring within 30 days of surgery.


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Dr. Brad Picha joins Youngstown Orthopedic Associates

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