Cell phone use and acoustic neuroma: the need for standardized questionnaires and access to industry data.

Center for Environmental Oncology-University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.
Surgical Neurology (Impact Factor: 1.67). 04/2009; 72(3):216-22; discussion 222. DOI: 10.1016/j.surneu.2009.01.010
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The capacity of radiofrequency from cell phones to be absorbed into the brain has prompted concerns that regular cell phone use may increase the risk of acoustic neuroma (AN) and other brain tumors. This article critically evaluates current literature on cell phone use and AN risks and proposes additional studies to clarify any possible linkage.
Through a PubMed search, we identified and reviewed 10 case-control studies and 1 cohort study of AN risks associated with cell phone use and a meta-analysis of long-term mobile phone use and its association with AN and other brain tumors.
Most studies did not find association between the development of AN and cell phone use, but some studies that followed cases for 10 years or more did show an association. Among 10 case-control studies, odds ratios for AN associated with regular cell phone use ranged from 0.5 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.2-1.0) to 4.2 (95% CI, 1.8-10). Cell phone use was not associated with increased risk for AN in the Danish cohort study, which excluded business users from their study. The meta-analysis, which included 3 case-control studies, found that subjects who used cell phones for at least 10 years had a 2.4-fold greater risk of developing ipsilateral AN. In general, retrospective studies are limited in the ability to assess cell phone exposure because of recall bias and misclassification.
The evaluation of AN risk factors is challenging due to its long latency. Some studies of longer term cell phone use have found an increased risk of ipsilateral AN. Adopting a prospective approach to acquire data on cell phone use, obtaining retrospective billing records that provide independent evaluations of exposures, and incorporating information on other key potential risk factors from questionnaires could markedly advance the capacity of studies to evaluate the impact of cell phones on AN.

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    ABSTRACT: Whether or not there is a relationship between use of mobile phones (analogue and digital cellulars, and cordless) and head tumour risk (brain tumours, acoustic neuromas, and salivary gland tumours) is still a matter of debate; progress requires a critical analysis of the methodological elements necessary for an impartial evaluation of contradictory studies. A close examination of the protocols and results from all case-control and cohort studies, pooled- and meta-analyses on head tumour risk for mobile phone users was carried out, and for each study the elements necessary for evaluating its reliability were identified. In addition, new meta-analyses of the literature data were undertaken. These were limited to subjects with mobile phone latency time compatible with the progression of the examined tumours, and with analysis of the laterality of head tumour localisation corresponding to the habitual laterality of mobile phone use. Blind protocols, free from errors, bias, and financial conditioning factors, give positive results that reveal a cause-effect relationship between long-term mobile phone use or latency and statistically significant increase of ipsilateral head tumour risk, with biological plausibility. Non-blind protocols, which instead are affected by errors, bias, and financial conditioning factors, give negative results with systematic underestimate of such risk. However, also in these studies a statistically significant increase in risk of ipsilateral head tumours is quite common after more than 10 years of mobile phone use or latency. The meta-analyses, our included, examining only data on ipsilateral tumours in subjects using mobile phones since or for at least 10 years, show large and statistically significant increases in risk of ipsilateral brain gliomas and acoustic neuromas. Our analysis of the literature studies and of the results from meta-analyses of the significant data alone shows an almost doubling of the risk of head tumours induced by long-term mobile phone use or latency.
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