Use of wireless phones and the risk of salivary gland tumours: a case-control study

Eur J Cancer Prev. 2012 Nov;21(6):576-9. doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0b013e328351c6bc.


The last decades of increasing use of wireless phones, including mobile as well as cordless desktop phones, have led to concerns about the potential carcinogenic effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Among the most exposed areas of the body when the phone is used for talking are the salivary glands, mainly the parotid gland, located in front of the ear. The objective of this case-control study was to assess whether the use of wireless phones is associated with an increased risk of tumour at this site. Sixty-nine patients with salivary gland tumours (63 with a parotid gland tumour) and 262 randomly recruited controls were included. Unconditional logistic regression - adjusted for age at diagnosis, sex, year of diagnosis and socioeconomic index - was used to produce odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. The use of wireless phones was not associated with an overall increased risk of salivary gland tumours, odds ratio 0.8, 95% confidence interval 0.4-1.5. Neither was there an increased risk for the different phone types when calculated separately nor was there an increased risk for different latencies or when cumulative use was divided into three groups (1-1000, 1001-2000 and >2000 h). The overall results were similar for the risk of parotid gland tumours. In conclusion, our data add to the evidence against there being an increased risk for parotid gland tumours associated with light-to-moderate use of wireless phones and for less than 10 years of use but offers little information on risk related to more prolonged and/or heavy use.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Phone*
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology*
  • Prognosis
  • Radio Waves / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / etiology*