When a risk associated with a particular treatment is rare, it can be difficult to evaluate. Without an impractically large number of patients in a study, the risk won’t show up frequently enough for researchers to collect data on it. This is the case with the use of Bone Morphogenic Protein in spinal fusion surgeries. Bone Morphogenic Protein, or BMP, is used to encourage cell growth to aid fusion between vertebrae in patients undergoing spinal fusion surgery.
One question associated with BMP is whether its use can cause cancer. Because it can take a significant length of time for cancer to arise after an event that triggers it, the risk may be difficult to determine in studies that span only a few years..
Dr. Paul C. McCormick, MD of Columbia University Medical Center/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and his colleagues recognized this issue and conducted a review of medical literature that addresses BMP use and cancer. The goal of the piece was to gather recently available clinical data into a single repository for reference by care providers.
More study is needed to fully understand the risks and benefits of BMP with regard to cancer, but this paper will serve as a reference point for future research into the issue.
This study is representative of Dr. McCormick’s continuing contribution to the body of medical literature and a commitment to improving patient outcomes.