Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Risk of brain tumours in relation to estimated RF dose from mobile phones: results from five Interphone countries. epidem.

Published in: Occup Environ Med 2011; 68 (9): 631-640

Aim of study (acc. to author)

The aim of the study was to investigate the associations of brain tumours with radio frequency fields from mobile phones.

Further details

The analysis was based on data from five countries (Australia, Canada, France, Israel and New Zealand) within the Interphone Study. Additionally to the case-control analysis, a complementary case-case analysis was performed in which 44 glioma and 135 meningioma cases in the most exposed area of the brain were compared with gliomas and meningiomas located elsewhere in the brain.
Exposure was estimated as total cumulative specific energy (TCSE; J/kg) absorbed at the tumour's estimated centre. An algorithm was developed to estimate the dose taking into account multiple exposure determinants, e.g., frequency band, communication system, amount and duration of mobile phone use (for more details see Cardis et al, 2011) .

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Type of risk estimation: (odds ratio (OR))

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 non regular user
Group 2 regular user
Reference group 3 cumulative call time without hands-free devices: never regular user
Group 4 cumulative call time without hands-free devices: < 13 h
Group 5 cumulative call time without hands-free devices: 13.0 - 60.9 h
Group 6 cumulative call time without hands-free devices: 61.0 - 199.9 h
Group 7 cumulative call time without hands-free devices: 200 - 734.9 h
Group 8 cumulative call time without hands-free devices: ≥ 735 h
Reference group 9 total cumulative specific energy: never regular user
Group 10 total cumulative specific energy: < 76.7 J/kg
Group 11 total cumulative specific energy: 76.7 - < 284.1 J/kg
Group 12 total cumulative specific energy: 284.1 - < 987.9 J/kg
Group 13 total cumulative specific energy: 987.9 - < 3123.9 J/kg
Group 14 total cumulative specific energy: ≥ 3123.9 J/kg
Reference group 15 time before diagnosis < 3 years, total cumulative specific energy: never regular user
Group 16 time before diagnosis < 3 years, total cumulative specific energy: < 76.7 J/kg
Group 17 time before diagnosis < 3 years, total cumulative specific energy: 76.7 - < 284.1 J/kg
Group 18 time before diagnosis < 3 years, total cumulative specific energy: 284.1 - < 987.9 J/kg
Group 19 time before diagnosis < 3 years, total cumulative specific energy: 987.9 - < 3123.9 J/kg
Group 20 time before diagnosis < 3 years, total cumulative specific energy: ≥ 3123.9 J/kg
Reference group 21 time before diagnosis 3 - 6 years, total cumulative specific energy: never regular user
Group 22 time before diagnosis 3 - 6 years, total cumulative specific energy: < 76.7 J/kg
Group 23 time before diagnosis 3 - 6 years, total cumulative specific energy: 76.7 - < 284.1 J/kg
Group 24 time before diagnosis 3 - 6 years, total cumulative specific energy: 284.1 - < 987.9 J/kg
Group 25 time before diagnosis 3 - 6 years, total cumulative specific energy: 987.9 - < 3123.9 J/kg
Group 26 time before diagnosis 3 - 6 years, total cumulative specific energy: ≥ 3123.9 J/kg
Reference group 27 time before diagnosis ≥ 7 years, total cumulative specific energy: never regular user
Group 28 time before diagnosis ≥ 7 years, total cumulative specific energy: < 76.7 J/kg
Group 29 time before diagnosis ≥ 7 years, total cumulative specific energy: 76.7 - < 284.1 J/kg
Group 30 time before diagnosis ≥ 7 years, total cumulative specific energy: 284.1 - < 987.9 J/kg
Group 31 time before diagnosis ≥ 7 years, total cumulative specific energy: 987.9 - < 3123.9 J/kg
Group 32 time before diagnosis ≥ 7 years, total cumulative specific energy: ≥ 3123.9 J/kg
Reference group 33 time since start of use: non-reular user
Group 34 time since start of use: 1 - 4 years
Group 35 time since start of use: 5 - 9 years
Group 36 time since start of use:≥ 10 years
Reference group 37 cumulative call time without hands-free devices: non regular user
Group 38 cumulative call time without hands-free devices: < 39 h
Group 39 cumulative call time without hands-free devices: 39 - 219 h
Group 40 cumulative call time without hands-free devices: 220 - 519 h
Group 41 cumulative call time without hands-free devices: 520 - 1146 h
Group 42 cumulative call time without hands-free devices: ≥ 1147 h

Population

Case group

Control group

Study size

Cases Controls
Eligible 2,511 4,383
Participants 1,724 2,565
Evaluable 1,229 1,911
Other:

553 glioma and 676 meningioma cases available for analysis

Statistical analysis method: (adjustment: )

Conclusion (acc. to author)

Overall, a reduced risk related to ever having been a regular mobile phone user was observed for the brain tumors glioma (OR 0.92; CI 0.75-1.13) and meningioma (OR 0.80; CI 0.66-0.96). In the highest exposure group, an increased risk for glioma was found (OR 1.35; CI 0.96-1.90). The odds ratio increased increasing total cumulative specific energy and time before diagnosis 7 years and more (OR 1.91; CI 1.05-3.47 in the highest exposure group). The complementary case-case analysis showed an increased risk for tumors in the most exposed part of the brain in those with 10 and more years of mobile phone use (OR 2.80; CI 1.13-6.94 for glioma). The results for meningioma were similar, but risk estimates were lower, many below 1.0.
The authors concluded that there were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma in long-term mobile phone users with high radiofrequency exposure and of similar, but apparently much smaller, increases in meningioma risk. The uncertainty of these results requires that they have be replicated before a causal interpretation can be made.

Study funded by

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