Background: The dramatic increase in the use of cellular phones has generated concerns about potential adverse effects, especially the development of brain tumors. We conducted a meta-analysis to examine the effect of cellular phone use on the risk of brain tumor development.
Methods: We searched the literature using MEDLINE to locate case-control studies on cellular phone use and brain tumors. Odds ratios (ORs) for overall effect and stratified ORs associated with specific brain tumors, long-term use, and analog/digital phones were calculated for each study using its original data. A pooled estimator of each OR was then calculated using a random-effects model.
Results: Nine case-control studies containing 5,259 cases of primary brain tumors and 12,074 controls were included. All studies reported ORs according to brain tumor subtypes, and five provided ORs on patients with > or =10 years of follow up. Pooled analysis showed an overall OR of 0.90 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.81-0.99) for cellular phone use and brain tumor development. The pooled OR for long-term users of > or =10 years (5 studies) was 1.25 (95% CI 1.01-1.54). No increased risk was observed in analog or digital cellular phone users.
Conclusions: We found no overall increased risk of brain tumors among cellular phone users. The potential elevated risk of brain tumors after long-term cellular phone use awaits confirmation by future studies.