Affiliations of authors: Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland (DA, MR); University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland (DA, DJ, MR); Unit of Epidemiology, Institute for Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden (MF, MP); Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen, Denmark (JS, TVA, LSS, AHP, CJ); International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Section of Environment and Radiation, Lyon, France (JS); The Cancer Registry of Norway, Oslo, Norway (TT, LK, TE); National Institute of Occupational Health, Oslo, Norway (TT); Department of Pediatrics, University of Gothenburg, The Queen Silvia Children's Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden (BL); Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, Oslo, Norway (LK); Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacopsychology, University Hospital of Psychiatry, Zürich, Switzerland (DJ); Department of Oncology, University Children's Hospital of Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland (MG); Department of Pediatrics, Unit of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, CHUV, Lausanne, Switzerland (NVdW); Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern, Berne, Switzerland (CEK).
Background It has been hypothesized that children and adolescents might be more vulnerable to possible health effects from mobile phone exposure than adults. We investigated whether mobile phone use is associated with brain tumor risk among children and adolescents. Methods CEFALO is a multicenter case-control study conducted in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland that includes all children and adolescents aged 7-19 years who were diagnosed with a brain tumor between 2004 and 2008. We conducted interviews, in person, with 352 case patients (participation rate: 83%) and 646 control subjects (participation rate: 71%) and their parents. Control subjects were randomly selected from population registries and matched by age, sex, and geographical region. We asked about mobile phone use and included mobile phone operator records when available. Odds ratios (ORs) for brain tumor risk and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using conditional logistic regression models. Results Regular users of mobile phones were not statistically significantly more likely to have been diagnosed with brain tumors compared with nonusers (OR = 1.36; 95% CI = 0.92 to 2.02). Children who started to use mobile phones at least 5 years ago were not at increased risk compared with those who had never regularly used mobile phones (OR = 1.26, 95% CI = 0.70 to 2.28). In a subset of study participants for whom operator recorded data were available, brain tumor risk was related to the time elapsed since the mobile phone subscription was started but not to amount of use. No increased risk of brain tumors was observed for brain areas receiving the highest amount of exposure. Conclusion The absence of an exposure-response relationship either in terms of the amount of mobile phone use or by localization of the brain tumor argues against a causal association.