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Epidemiological Study (case-control study)

Mobile phone use and risk of glioma in 5 North European countries. epidemiol.

By: Lahkola A, Auvinen A, Raitanen J, Schoemaker MJ, Christensen HC, Feychting M, Johansen C, Klaeboe L, Lönn S, Swerdlow AJ, Tynes T, Salminen T
Published in: Int J Cancer 2007; 120 (8): 1769 - 1775 (PubMed | Journal website)

Aim of study (according to author)
The collaborative population-based case-control study was conducted in five North European countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Southeast England) to investigate the possible association of glioma with use of mobile phones.
This study is part of the INTERPHONE project.
Background/further details:
The Swedish, Danish and British studies have been published previously (publication 11648, publication 11887, and publication 13154). Furthermore, the authors recently reported also a collaborative analysis of acoustic neuromas based on these studies (publication 12419).
Regular use of a mobile phone was defined as at least once a week for at least six months.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Estimate of incidence by odds ratio (OR)


groups of exposure:

Reference group 1:  never or nonregular use 
group 2:  regular use 
group 3:  years since first use: 1.5-4  
group 4:  years since first use: 5-9 
group 5:  years since first use: ≥10  
group 6:  lifetime years of use: 0.5-4 
group 7:  lifetime years of use: 5-9 
group 8:  lifetime years of use: ≥ 10 
group 9:  cumulative number of calls: < 2172 
group 10:  cumulative number of calls: 2172-7792 
group 11:  cumulative number of calls: > 7792 
group 12:  cumulative hours of use: < 125 
group 13:  cumulative hours of use: 125-503 
group 14:  cumulative hours of use: > 503 
group 15:  cumulative number of calls by time since first use: < 10 years 
group 16:  cumulative number of calls by time since first use: ≥ 10 years (≤ 1512 calls) 
group 17:  cumulative number of calls by time since first use: ≥ 10 years (> 1512 calls) 
group 18:  cumulative hours of use by time since first use: < 10 years 
group 19:  cumulative hours of use by time since first use: ≥ 10 years (≤ 75 hours) 
group 20:  cumulative hours of use by time since first use: ≥ 10 years (> 75 hours) 
group 21:  analogue phone use 
group 22:  digital phone use 
Reference group 23:  nonregular use or contralateral side of tumor and phone use 
group 24:  ipsilateral, years since first use: 1.5-4  
group 25:  ipsilateral, years since first use: 5-9 
group 26:  ipsilateral, years since first use: ≥10  
Reference group 27:  nonregular use or ipsilateral side of tumor and phone use 
group 28:  contralateral, years since first use: 1.5-4  
group 29:  contralateral, years since first use: 5-9 
group 30:  contralateral, years since first use: ≥10  


Further parameters acquired by interview (medical history, highest level of education obtained, family history of brain tumors, previous radiation therapy to the head and neck region (received more than 10 years before the reference date))

Study size i cases  controls 
number eligible 2,5306,581
number participating 1,5213301
rate of participating 60%50%

Confounders: socioeconomic status

Statistically significant results i

 group  exposure  endpoint  cases  controls  parameter (OR confidence interval 
26ipsilateral, years since first use: ≥10 glioma771771.41.01-1.92

Statistical analysis using conditional logistic regression (adjusted for 5-year age group, sex, residential area, country)

Results/conclusion (according to author)
No evidence of increased risk of glioma related to regular mobile phone use was found. No significant association was found across categories with duration of use, years since first use, cumulative number of calls or cumulative hours of use. No increased risks was found when analogue and digital phones were analyzed separately.
An increased risk for tumour ipsilateral to side of phone use was found for more than 10 years of mobile phone use (group 26). The indication of increased risk in relation to reported ipsilateral mobile phone use for more than 10 years duration may be due to either chance or causal effect or information bias.

(Study character: epidemiological study, case-control study)

Study funded by

Related articles i
Glossary: acoustic neuromas, analogue, bias, brain tumors, cancer registries, case-control study, conditional logistic regression, confidence interval, Confounders, cumulative, digital, endpoint, epidemiological, evidence, exposure, frequency, glioma, incidence, Interphone project, ipsilateral, laterality, matching, medical history, mobile communication, mobile phone, neurology, oncology, OR, population-based, radiation, risk, significant, socioeconomic status, statistical, therapy, tumour
Exposure: mobile communication system, analog mobile phone, digital mobile phone, personal exposure

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