Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Mobile phone use and brain tumors in children and adolescents: a multicenter case-control study. epidem.

Published in: J Natl Cancer Inst 2011; 103 (16): 1264-1276

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A multicentric case-control study (CEFALO) was conducted in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland to investigate the relationship between mobile phone use and risk of developing brain tumors in children and adolescents.

Further details

Regular use was defined as use of a mobile phone at least once per week for a period of 6 months or more.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

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

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 non-regular mobile phone user
Group 2 regular mobile phone user
Reference group 3 time since first use: never regular user
Group 4 time since first use: ≤ 3.3 years
Group 5 time since first use: 3.3 - 5.0 years
Group 6 time since first use: > 5.0 years
Reference group 7 cumulative duration of subscriptions: never regular user
Group 8 cumulative duration of subscriptions: ≤ 2.7 years
Group 9 cumulative duration of subscriptions: 2.8 - 4.0 years
Group 10 cumulative duration of subscriptions: > 4.0 years
Reference group 11 cumulative duration of calls: never regular user
Group 12 cumulative duration of calls: ≤ 35 h
Group 13 cumulative duration of calls: 36 - 144 h
Group 14 cumulative duration of calls: > 144 h
Reference group 15 cumulative number of calls: never regular user
Group 16 cumulative number of calls: ≤ 936
Group 17 cumulative number of calls: 937 - 2638
Group 18 cumulative number of calls: > 2638
Reference group 19 ever use of baby monitors near the head: no
Group 20 ever use of baby monitors near the head: yes
Reference group 21 ever use of cordless phones: no
Group 22 ever use of cordless phones: yes
Reference group 23 cumulative duration of calls with cordless phones: never user
Group 24 cumulative duration of calls with cordless phones: ≤ 23 h
Group 25 cumulative duration of calls with cordless phones: 24 - 70 h
Group 26 cumulative duration of calls with cordless phones: > 70 h
Group 27 cumulative duration of calls with cordless phones: missing data
Reference group 28 cumulative number of calls with cordless phones: never user
Group 29 cumulative number of calls with cordless phones: ≤ 235
Group 30 cumulative number of calls with cordless phones: 236 - 704
Group 31 cumulative number of calls with cordless phones: > 704
Group 32 cumulative number of calls with cordless phones: missing data

Population

Case group

Control group

Study size

Cases Controls
Eligible 423 909
Participants 352 646
Participation rate 83 % 71 %
Statistical analysis method:

Conclusion (acc. to author)

194 (55%) case patients and 329 (51%) control subjects have used regularly mobile phones.
Regular users of mobile phones were not statistically significantly more likely to have been diagnosed with brain tumors compared with nonusers (OR 1.36; CI 0.92-2.02). Children who started to use mobile phones at least 5 years ago were not at increased risk compared with those who had never regularly used mobile phones (OR 1.26; CI 0.70-2.28). In a small subset of study participants for whom operator recorded data were available, brain tumor risk was related to the time elapsed since the mobile phone subscription was started but not to amount of use. No increased risk of brain tumors was observed for brain areas receiving the highest amount of exposure. The results showed no relationship between brain tumor risk and ever use of baby monitors near the head as well as children's use of cordless phones.
The authors conclude that the absence of an exposure-response relationship either in terms of the amount of mobile phone use or by localization of the brain tumor argues against a causal association.

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