Mobile Phone Use and Brain Tumors—A Review of the Epidemiological Evidence : Epidemiology

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Abstracts: ISEE 21st Annual Conference, Dublin, Ireland, August 25–29, 2009: Symposium Abstracts: Symposia Presentations

Mobile Phone Use and Brain Tumors—A Review of the Epidemiological Evidence

Ahlbom, Anders*; Feychting, Maria*; Green, Adele; Kheifets, Leeka; Savitz, David§; Swerdlow, Anthony

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Epidemiology 20(6):p S241, November 2009. | DOI: 10.1097/01.ede.0000362807.05378.7c
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In the last few years a large number of epidemiological studies on mobile phone use and risk of brain tumors in adults have been published. The International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) Standing Committee on Epidemiology has reviewed and interpreted evidence in the light of potential methodological problems inherent in the available studies. These are particularly selection bias introduced by selective non-response and inaccuracy and bias in recall of phone use. Studies of glioma mostly show small increased or decreased risks among mobile phone users, but a subset of studies show appreciably elevated risks. No plausible explanation for the deviant results has been identified. Overall the studies published to date do not demonstrate a raised risk for any tumor of the brain within approximately 10 years since first use; pooling the results across studies show an overall risk estimate for glioma of 1.0 (95% CI 0.9–1.1) for up to 5 years since first use, and 1.0 (95% CI 0.8–1.1) for approximately 5–10 years. Also for longer latencies, the available data do not suggest an association between mobile phone use and fast-growing tumors such as glioma; the overall pooled estimate for long-term use is 1.1 (95% CI 0.8–1.4). Analyses taking laterality of mobile phone use and tumor location into consideration suggest that recall bias when reporting side of phone use may have influenced the results: risk estimates are consistently increased for mobile phone use on the same side as the tumor, whereas contralateral use is associated with reduced risks, regardless of time since first use. Data for longer-term use are still limited in volume, and for latencies longer than 12–15 years there are currently no data available, as use of handheld mobile phones is still a relatively recent phenomenon. Currently there are no data available on tumor risk in children.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.