Lahkola A et al. (2007) Mobile phone use and risk of glioma in 5 North European countries. Int J Cancer 120: 1769–1775

Mobile phones emit low-energy radiofrequency radiation. Although no mechanism for the initiation of cancer via radiofrequency radiation has been established, there has been widespread anxiety about a possible link between mobile phone use and an increased risk of intracranial tumors. In a recent paper, Lahkola et al. report the results of a population-based case–control study, conducted in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and southeast England, designed to evaluate the relationship between mobile phone use and risk of glioma.

A total of 1,521 patients with glioma and 3,301 controls participated in this study. No significant association was found between risk of glioma and regular mobile phone use. Subgroup analyses found no association between risk of glioma and cumulative number of calls, cumulative call hours, lifetime years of use, or the use of digital or analogue telephones. Similar results were found for men and women and across age groups. Laterality analysis demonstrated an association of borderline significance between a more than 10-year reported use of a mobile phone on one side of the head and tumor location (P = 0.04 for trend).

The authors conclude that while their results do not indicate an association between mobile phone use and glioma, further studies of the risk associated with long-term mobile phone use should be carried out, with particular attention paid to the incidence of tumors in the areas of the brain most heavily exposed to radiofrequency radiation during mobile phone use.