The time trends in registered rates of acoustic neuromas and other benign cranial nerve neoplasms from 1979 - 2001 in England and Wales were compared with trends in cellular phone use.
Annual registrations of cases of acoustic neuroma increased from 84 to 374 cases from 1979 to 1997 and then fell to 262 cases in 2001. Age-standardized incidence rates increased from 2.4 to 7.6 per million until 1997 and then fell to 5.5 per million in 2000. Cellular phone use started in the United Kingdom in 1985, increased slowly until 1992, more rapidly to 1997, before substantial growth to 2005. The registration trends did not lag behind trends in cellular phone use.
The results did not support the hypothesis that the incidence rates reflect trends in cellular phone use. The trends in acoustic neuroma are most likely explained by changes in reporting, ascertainment and diagnosis of the cases.