Purpose: Case-control studies have reported inconsistent findings regarding the association between mobile phone use and tumor risk. We investigated these associations using a meta-analysis.
Methods: We searched MEDLINE (PubMed), EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library in August 2008. Two evaluators independently reviewed and selected articles based on predetermined selection criteria.
Results: Of 465 articles meeting our initial criteria, 23 case-control studies, which involved 37,916 participants (12,344 patient cases and 25,572 controls), were included in the final analyses. Compared with never or rarely having used a mobile phone, the odds ratio for overall use was 0.98 for malignant and benign tumors (95% CI, 0.89 to 1.07) in a random-effects meta-analysis of all 23 studies. However, a significant positive association (harmful effect) was observed in a random-effects meta-analysis of eight studies using blinding, whereas a significant negative association (protective effect) was observed in a fixed-effects meta-analysis of 15 studies not using blinding. Mobile phone use of 10 years or longer was associated with a risk of tumors in 13 studies reporting this association (odds ratio = 1.18; 95% CI, 1.04 to 1.34). Further, these findings were also observed in the subgroup analyses by methodologic quality of study. Blinding and methodologic quality of study were strongly associated with the research group.
Conclusion: The current study found that there is possible evidence linking mobile phone use to an increased risk of tumors from a meta-analysis of low-biased case-control studies. Prospective cohort studies providing a higher level of evidence are needed.