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BACKGROUND: Orofacial metastases are rare and often omitted
in the differential diagnoses of jaw lesions until after the
histopathologic diagnosis. This is a study of the prevalence and the
clinicopathologic features of metastatic orofacial tumours.
METHODS: A retrospective 29-year study in three tertiary dental
centres in Southern Nigerian was carried out. All patients with
orofacial malignancies were identified from the medical records.
Those with histological diagnoses of metastatic tumours were
retrieved. The demographic data and clinicopathologic features of
each case were obtained. The proportions and descriptive variables
of the data were analyzed with SPSS, version 20.
RESULTS: Orofacial malignancy was diagnosed in 695 patients, of
which 6 were of metastatic origin giving a prevalence of 0.9 %. All
the metastases involved the jaw bones and were post-surgical. The
posterior mandible was the preferred site, (n=5, 83.3 %) and none
was observed in the oral soft tissues. The thyroid and the prostate
were the most frequent organ of origin in women and men
respectively. The mean age at presentation was 52.6 ± 13.9 (SD)
years. The male: female ratio was 1:2. Swelling (n=6, 100.0%) and
pain (n=3, 50.0%) were the commonest presentation. Mixed
radiopacity/lucency (n=4, 66.7%) was the commonest radiologic
CONCLUSION: A low prevalence of orofacial metastases was
observed in this study. Destructive jaw swellings in elderly patients
after therapy for malignant neoplasms should be suspected and
evaluated to exclude metastases.