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Mobile Phone Use and the Risk of Acoustic Neuroma

Lönn, Stefan*; Ahlbom, Anders*; Hall, Per; Feychting, Maria*

doi: 10.1097/
Original Article

Background: Radiofrequency exposure from mobile phones is concentrated to the tissue closest to the handset, which includes the auditory nerve. If this type of exposure increases tumor risk, acoustic neuroma would be a potential concern.

Methods: In this population-based case-control study we identified all cases age 20 to 69 years diagnosed with acoustic neuroma during 1999 to 2002 in certain parts of Sweden. Controls were randomly selected from the study base, stratified on age, sex, and residential area. Detailed information about mobile phone use and other environmental exposures was collected from 148 (93%) cases and 604 (72%) controls.

Results: The overall odds ratio for acoustic neuroma associated with regular mobile phone use was 1.0 (95% confidence interval = 0.6–1.5). Ten years after the start of mobile phone use the estimates relative risk increased to 1.9 (0.9–4.1); when restricting to tumors on the same side of the head as the phone was normally used, the relative risk was 3.9 (1.6–9.5).

Conclusions: Our findings do not indicate an increased risk of acoustic neuroma related to short-term mobile phone use after a short latency period. However, our data suggest an increased risk of acoustic neuroma associated with mobile phone use of at least 10 years’ duration.

From the *Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; and the †Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Editors’ note: A commentary on this article appears on page 651.

Submitted 16 June 2004; final version accepted 26 July 2004.

Sources of financial support: European Union Fifth Framework Program, “Quality of Life and Management of living Resources” (contract QLK4-CT-1999-01563), the Swedish Research Council, and the International Union against Cancer (UICC).

Correspondence: Stefan Lönn, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Box 210, S-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden. E-mail:

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.