Current understanding of the pathogenesis and management of chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis

Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2012 Apr;14(2):130-41. doi: 10.1007/s11926-012-0239-5.


Chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO) is an inflammatory disorder that primarily affects children. Its hallmark is recurring episodes of sterile osteomyelitis. The clinical presentation is insidious onset of bone pain with or without fever. Laboratory studies typically reveal nonspecific evidence of inflammation. Radiologic imaging and histologic appearance resemble those of infectious osteomyelitis. There is a strong association with inflammatory disorders of the skin and intestinal tract in affected individuals and their close relatives, suggesting a shared pathophysiology and supporting a genetic component to disease susceptibility. Two genetic syndromes have CRMO as a prominent phenotype-Majeed syndrome and deficiency of the interleukin-1 receptor antagonist-and suggest that interleukin-1 may be a key cytokine in disease pathogenesis. This review briefly summarizes the main clinical and radiologic aspects of the disease and then focuses on genetics and pathophysiology and provides an update on treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Diphosphonates / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Osteomyelitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteomyelitis / drug therapy*
  • Osteomyelitis / etiology*
  • Radiography
  • Recurrence


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Diphosphonates