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It is possible that the main title of the report Ameloblastoma is not the name you expected.

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Ameloblastoma is a rare disorder of the jaw involving abnormal tissue growth. The resulting tumors or cysts are usually not malignant (benign) but the tissue growth may be aggressive in the involved area. On occasion, tissue near the jaws, such as around the sinuses and eye sockets, may become involved as well. The tissues involved are most often those that give rise to the teeth so that ameloblastoma may cause facial distortion. Malignancy is uncommon as are metastases, but they do occur.


Ameloblastoma is characterized by an abnormal growth in the sinus area or jaw, often at the site of the third molar. The tumors or cysts may be aggressive and may spread to the nose, eye socket and skull. It is important for ameloblastoma to be diagnosed and treated early in order to stop growth of the tumors and possible progression to cancer. Although it is uncommon, ameloblastomas have been known to become malignant and spread to other parts of the body, especially to the lungs. The initial surgical treatment must be carefully and scrupulously done to avoid recurrence.

Ameloblastomas do not usually become malignant. There is evidence that tissue is more likely to become malignant if the condition reoccurs after surgery.


The cause of ameloblastoma is not understood. Causes may include injury to the mouth or jaw, infections of the teeth or gums, or inflammation of these same areas. Infections by viruses or lack of protein or minerals in the persons diet are also suspected of causing the growth or development of these tumors. In general, however, scientists do not understand the cause of cysts and tumors, nor the reasons why they can become malignant.

Affected Populations

Ameloblastoma is a rare disorder that affects males and females in equal numbers. It affects persons of all ethnic backgrounds and of all age groups.


Ameloblastoma can show up either in a regular x-ray or in an MRI imaging study.

Standard Therapies


Surgical removal of the affected tissue is the preferred treatment. A wide margin of healthy tissue should be removed from the treated area to keep the chance of tumor regrowth to a minimum. If the tumor does reoccur, surgery is performed again.

If there is malignant spread of the tumor, radiation is the treatment choice. Chemotherapy is usually not as effective in these cases.

Investigational Therapies

Information on current clinical trials is posted on the Internet at All studies receiving U.S. government funding, and some supported by private industry, are posted on this government website.

For information about clinical trials being conducted at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD, contact the NIH Patient Recruitment Office:

Tollfree: (800) 411-1222

TTY: (866) 411-1010


For information about clinical trials sponsored by private sources, contact:



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Ameloblastoma. Marquette University School of Dentistry - Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology. nd. 4pp.

Zane RS. Maxillary Ameloblastoma. August 10,1991.

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For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.® (NORD). Cigna members can access the complete report by logging into For non-Cigna members, a copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see