Cellular telephone use and risk of intratemporal facial nerve tumor

Laryngoscope. 2003 Apr;113(4):663-7. doi: 10.1097/00005537-200304000-00015.


Objectives/hypothesis: Microwave radiation exposure from cellular telephone use has been implicated in the development of intracranial tumors. The intratemporal facial nerve (IFN) is exposed to higher levels of cellular telephone radiation than intracranial tissues. The purpose of the study was to determine whether cellular telephone use is associated with an increased risk of IFN tumors.

Study design: Case-control using a structured telephone survey at an academic, tertiary-care referral center.

Methods: Patients with IFN tumors (n = 18) were case-matched with patients treated for acoustic neuroma (n = 51), rhinosinusitis (n = 72), and dysphonia or gastroesophageal reflux disease (n = 69). Risk of facial nerve tumorigenesis was compared by extent of cellular telephone use and other risk factors.

Results: The odds ratio of developing an IFN tumor was 0.6 (95% CI, 0.2-1.9) with any handheld cellular telephone use and 0.4 (95% CI, 0.1-2.1) with regular cellular telephone use. No factors were associated with an increased risk for IFN tumor development.

Conclusions: Regular cellular telephone use does not appear to be associated with a higher risk of IFN tumor development. The short duration of widespread cellular telephone use precludes definite exclusion as a risk for IFN tumor development.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Phone / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cranial Nerve Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Cranial Nerve Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Facial Nerve / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Temporal Muscle / pathology*
  • United States / epidemiology