Radioprotection With Amifostine Enhances Bone Strength and Regeneration and Bony Union in a Rat Model of Mandibular Distraction Osteogenesis

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Abstract

Background

Using distraction osteogenesis (DO) to regenerate robust endogenous bone could greatly enhance postoncologic reconstruction of head and neck cancer. However, radiation (XRT) corrosive effects still preclude DO's immense potential. We posit that adjunctive pretreatment with the radioprotectant amifostine (AMF) can optimize wound healing and allow for successful DO with quantifiable enhancements in bony union and strength despite previous surgical bed irradiation.

Methods

Two groups of murine left hemimandibles were exposed to a human equivalent radiation dosage fractionated over 5 daily doses of 7 Gy. AMF-XRT-DO (n = 30) received AMF before radiation, whereas XRT-DO (n = 22) was untreated. All animals underwent left hemimandibular osteotomy and external fixator placement, followed by distraction to a 5.1-mm gap. Left hemimandibles were harvested and mechanically tested for parameters of strength, yield, and breaking load.

Results

Radiation-related complications such as severe alopecia were significantly increased in XRT-DO compared with the AMF-treated group (P = 0.001), whereas infection and death were comparable (P = 0.318). Upon dissection, bony defects were grossly visible in XRT-DO distraction gap compared with AMF-XRT-DO, which exhibited significantly more complete unions (P = 0.004). Those results were significantly increased in the specimens prophylactically treated with AMF (yield: 39.41 N vs 21.78 N, P = 0.023; breaking load: 61.74 N vs 34.77 N, P = 0.044; respectively).

Conclusions

Our study revealed that AMF enhances biomechanical strength, regeneration, and bony union after radiation in a murine model of DO. The use of prophylactic AMF in combination with DO offers the promise of an alternative reconstructive option for patients afflicted with head and neck cancer.

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