Mobile Phone Use and Risk of Tumors: A Meta-Analysis

J Clin Oncol. 2009 Nov 20;27(33):5565-72. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2008.21.6366. Epub 2009 Oct 13.

Abstract

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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Brain Neoplasms / etiology
  • Brain Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Phone / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Korea
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Time Factors