The relationship between mobile phone use and incidence of intracranial malignancy has generated considerable research interest. The results of the largest ever case–control study on mobile phone use and risk of glioma have now been published in the BMJ.
The study, which is part of the INTERPHONE PROJECT, sampled 966 cases with low-grade or high-grade glioma and 1,716 control subjects from across the UK. Study participants were aged between 18 and 69 years. Cases had a first diagnosis of glioma between December 2000 and February 2004 and were selected from various treatment centers. Controls were randomly chosen from family physician patient lists to represent the general population. Cases and controls participated in a computer-assisted personal interview, and a series of in-depth questions were used to determine the extent of mobile phone use.
The researchers found that mobile phone use did not significantly increase the risk of glioma, irrespective of cumulative number of hours of use, lifetime years of use, or cumulative number of calls made. Neither the location of phone use (urban versus rural) nor type of phone (analog versus digital) was related to risk of glioma. The study did reveal an increased risk of glioma ipsilateral to the side of the head that the phone was used and a decreased risk contralateral to side of phone use; however, these results were not substantiated in a subsequent analysis of handedness and the authors speculate that this effect could have been caused by a tendency of glioma patients to over-report phone use as being on the same side as their tumor.
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King, A. Mobile phone use does not increase risk of glioma. Nat Rev Neurol 2, 239 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/ncponc0435x