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Epidemiological study (observational study)

Case-control study of the association between malignant brain tumours diagnosed between 2007 and 2009 and mobile and cordless phone use.

Published in: Int J Oncol 2013; 43 (6): 1833-1845

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A case-control study was conducted in Sweden to investigate the association between malignant brain tumors and the use of mobile phones and cordless phones.

Further details

The results of this case-control study for meningioma are published in Carlberg et al (2013).
The unexposed group was defined as following: no use of mobile phone or cordless phone or less than 1 year between first use and year of diagnosis or cumulative use less than 39 hours.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

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

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Reference group 1 unexposed
Group 2 analog mobile phone > 1 year latency period
Group 3 analog mobile phone > 1- to 5-year latency period
Group 4 analog mobile phone > 5- to 10-year latency period
Group 5 analog mobile phone > 10- to 15-year latency period
Group 6 analog mobile phone > 15- to 20-year latency period
Group 7 analog mobile phone > 20- to 25 -year latency period
Group 8 analog mobile phone > 25-year latency period
Group 9 digital (2G) mobile phone > 1 year latency period
Group 10 digital (2G) mobile phone > 1- to 5-year latency period
Group 11 digital (2G) mobile phone > 5- to 10-year latency period
Group 12 digital (2G) mobile phone > 10- to 15-year latency period
Group 13 digital (2G) mobile phone > 15- to 20-year latency period
Group 14 digital (2G) mobile phone > 20- to 25 -year latency period
Group 15 digital (2G) mobile phone > 25-year latency period
Group 16 digital (3G) mobile phone > 1 year latency period
Group 17 digital (3G) mobile phone > 1- to 5-year latency period
Group 18 digital (3G) mobile phone > 5- to 10-year latency period
Group 19 digital (3G) mobile phone > 10- to 15-year latency period
Group 20 digital (3G) mobile phone > 15- to 20-year latency period
Group 21 digital (3G) mobile phone > 20- to 25 -year latency period
Group 22 digital (3G) mobile phone > 25-year latency period
Group 23 mobile phone > 1 year latency period
Group 24 mobile phone > 1- to 5-year latency period
Group 25 mobile phone > 5- to 10-year latency period
Group 26 mobile phone > 10- to 15-year latency period
Group 27 mobile phone > 15- to 20-year latency period
Group 28 mobile phone > 20- to 25 -year latency period
Group 29 mobile phone > 25-year latency period
Group 30 cordless phone > 1 year latency period
Group 31 cordless phone > 1- to 5-year latency period
Group 32 cordless phone > 5- to 10-year latency period
Group 33 cordless phone > 10- to 15-year latency period
Group 34 cordless phone > 15- to 20-year latency period
Group 35 cordless phone > 20- to 25 -year latency period
Group 36 cordless phone > 25-year latency period
Group 37 digital phone (2G, 3G and/or cordless phone) > 1 year latency period
Group 38 digital phone (2G, 3G and/or cordless phone) > 1- to 5-year latency period
Group 39 digital phone (2G, 3G and/or cordless phone) > 5- to 10-year latency period
Group 40 digital phone (2G, 3G and/or cordless phone) > 10- to 15-year latency period
Group 41 digital phone (2G, 3G and/or cordless phone) > 15- to 20-year latency period
Group 42 digital phone (2G, 3G and/or cordless phone) > 20- to 25 -year latency period
Group 43 digital phone (2G, 3G and/or cordless phone) > 25-year latency period
Group 44 wireless phone > 1 year latency period
Group 45 wireless phone > 1- to 5-year latency period
Group 46 wireless phone > 5- to 10-year latency period
Group 47 wireless phone > 10- to 15-year latency period
Group 48 wireless phone > 15- to 20-year latency period
Group 49 wireless phone > 20- to 25 -year latency period
Group 50 wireless phone > 25-year latency period

Population

  • Group:
    • men
    • women
  • Age: 18–75 years
  • Observation period: 2007 - 2009
  • Study location: Sweden

Case group

Control group

  • Selection:
    • population-based
  • Matching:
    • sex
    • area
    • 5-year age group

Study size

Cases Controls
Eligible 1,334 1,601
Contacted 683 -
Participants 593 1,368
Participation rate 87 % 85 %
Statistical analysis method:
  • unconditional logistic regression
( adjustment:
  • 5-year age group
  • sex
  • socioeconomic status
  • year of diagnosis
)

Conclusion (acc. to author)

An increased risk for malignant brain tumors was observed for mobile phone use of the analogue type (OR 1.8, CI 1.04-3.3), increasing with >25 years of latency (OR 3.3, CI 1.6-6.9). Increased risks were found for digital 2G mobile phone use (OR 1.6, CI 0.996-2.7), increasing with latency >15-20 years (OR 2.1, CI 1.2-3.6) and for cordless phone use (OR 1.7, CI 1.1-2.9; latency >15-20 years: OR 2.1, CI 1.2-3.8). Use of digital mobile phones and cordless phones gave increased risk with latency >1-5 years, then a lower risk in the following latency groups, but again increasing risk with latency >15-20 years. Ipsilateral use resulted in a higher risk than contralateral mobile phone and cordless phone use. Higher odds ratios were calculated for brain tumors in the temporal and overlapping lobes.
The authors concluded that this study confirmed previous results of an association between malignant brain tumors and the use of mobile phones and cordless phones. These findings provide support for the hypothesis that RF-EMFs play a role both in the initiation and promotion stages of carcinogenesis.

Study funded by

  • Cancer och Allergifonden (Cancer and Allergy Foundation), Sweden
  • Cancerhjälpen (Cancerhelp), Sweden
  • Örebro University Hospital Cancer Fund, Sweden
  • gigaherz.ch (Schweizerische Interessengemeinschaft Elektrosmog-Betroffener), Switzerland
  • Pandora Foundation, Germany

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