A case-control study of risk of leukaemia in relation to mobile phone use

Br J Cancer. 2010 Nov 23;103(11):1729-35. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6605948. Epub 2010 Oct 12.


Background: Mobile phone use is now ubiquitous, and scientific reviews have recommended research into its relation to leukaemia risk, but no large studies have been conducted.

Methods: In a case-control study in South East England to investigate the relation of acute and non-lymphocytic leukaemia risk to mobile phone use, 806 cases with leukaemia incident 2003-2009 at ages 18-59 years (50% of those identified as eligible) and 585 non-blood relatives as controls (provided by 392 cases) were interviewed about mobile phone use and other potentially aetiological variables.

Results: No association was found between regular mobile phone use and risk of leukaemia (odds ratio (OR)=1.06, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.76, 1.46). Analyses of risk in relation to years since first use, lifetime years of use, cumulative number of calls and cumulative hours of use produced no significantly raised risks, and there was no evidence of any trends. A non-significantly raised risk was found in people who first used a phone 15 or more years ago (OR=1.87, 95% CI=0.96, 3.63). Separate analyses of analogue and digital phone use and leukaemia subtype produced similar results to those overall.

Conclusion: This study suggests that use of mobile phones does not increase leukaemia risk, although the possibility of an effect after long-term use, while biologically unlikely, remains open.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Phone*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk