Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Melorheostosis is an exceptionally rare sclerosing hyperostosis that typically affects the appendicular skeleton in a limited segmental fashion. It occasionally occurs on a background of another benign generalised sclerosing bone condition, known as osteopoikilosis caused by germline mutations in LEMD3, encoding the inner nuclear membrane protein MAN1, which modulates TGFβ/bone morphogenetic protein signalling. Recent studies of melorheostosis lesional tissue indicate that most cases arise from somatic MAP2K1 mutations although a small number may arise from other genes in related pathways, such as KRAS. Those cases associated with MAP2K1 mutations are more likely to have the classic "dripping candle wax" appearance on radiographs. The relationship between these somatic mutations and those found in a variety of malignant conditions is discussed. There are also similar germline mutations involved in a group of genetic disorders known as the RASopathies (including Noonan syndrome, Costello syndrome and various cardiofaciocutaneous syndromes), successful treatments for which could be applied to melorheostosis. The diagnosis and management of melorheostosis are discussed; there are 4 distinct radiographic patterns of melorheostosis and substantial overlap with mixed sclerosing bone dysplasia. Medical treatments include bisphosphonates, but definitive guidance on their use is lacking given the small number of patients that have been studied. Surgical intervention may be required for those with large bone growths, nerve entrapments, joint impingement syndromes or major limb deformities. Bone regrowth is uncommon after surgery, but recurrent contractures represent a major issue in those with extensive associated soft tissue involvement.

Original publication




Journal article


Calcif tissue int

Publication Date





530 - 543


Hyperostosis, MAP2K1, Osteosclerosis, Skeletal dysplasia, Somatic mutation