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Association Between Number of Cell Phone Contracts and Brain Tumor Incidence in 19 US States

Association Between Number of Cell Phone Contracts and Brain Tumor Incidence in 19 US States

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Published by: karlmalatesta on Aug 22, 2010
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05/21/2012

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CLINICAL STUDY – PATIENT STUDY
Association between number of cell phone contracts and braintumor incidence in nineteen U.S. States
Steven Lehrer
Sheryl Green
Richard G. Stock
Received: 28 December 2009/Accepted: 21 June 2010
Ó
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2010
Abstract
Some concern has arisen about adverse healtheffects of cell phones, especially the possibility that the lowpower microwave-frequency signal transmitted by theantennas on handsets might cause brain tumors or acceleratethe growth ofsubclinicaltumors. Weanalyzed datafrom theStatistical Report: Primary Brain Tumors in the UnitedStates, 2000–2004 and 2007 cell phone subscription datafrom the Governing State and Local Sourcebook. There wasa significant correlation between number of cell phonesubscriptions and brain tumors in nineteen US states(
=
0.950,
P
\
0.001). Because increased numbers of bothcell phone subscriptions and brain tumors could be duesolely to the fact that some states, such as New York, havemuch larger populations than other states, such as NorthDakota, multiple linear regression was performed withnumberofbraintumorsasthedependentvariable,cellphonesubscriptions, population, mean family income and meanage as independent variables. The effect of cell phone sub-scriptions was significant (
P
=
0.017), and independent of the effect of mean family income (
P
=
0.894), population(
P
=
0.003) and age (0.499). The very linear relationshipbetween cell phone usage and brain tumor incidence isdisturbing and certainly needs further epidemiologicalevaluation. In the meantime, it would be prudent to limitexposure to all sources of electro-magnetic radiation.
Keywords
Brain tumor
Á
Cell phoneCell phones were introduced to the U.S. in 1984 but werenot widely adopted until the mid-1990s. By early 2000,the number of subscribers to cell phone services hadgrown to an estimated 92 million in the United Statesand 500 million worldwide. Some concern has arisenabout adverse health effects, especially the possibilitythat the low power microwave-frequency signal trans-mitted by the antennas on handsets might cause braintumors or accelerate the growth of subclinical tumors.Inskip et al. performed a case control study and con-cluded that their data did not support the hypothesis thatthe recent use of cell phones causes brain tumors, but thedata were not sufficient to evaluate the risks among long-term, heavy users [1]. Hardell et al. performed a metaanalysis of two cohort studies and 16 case–control studiesand reported that long-term use (10 years or more) of cell phones long term use has been associated withincreased risk of brain tumors [2]. Myung et al. foundpossible evidence linking mobile phone use to anincreased risk of tumors from a meta-analysis of low-biased case–control studies [3]. A World Health Orga-nization study has shown a significantly increased risk of some brain tumors related to use of cell phones for aperiod of 10 years or more [4]. The Interphone StudyGroup found no overall increase in risk of glioma ormeningioma with use of mobile phones; but there weresuggestions of an increased risk of glioma at the highestexposure levels, though biases and error prevented acausal interpretation [5].In the current study we examined the relation of cell phone subscriptions to brain tumor incidence byUS state.
S. Lehrer
Á
S. Green
Á
R. G. Stock Department of Radiation Oncology, Mount Sinai Schoolof Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USAS. Lehrer (
&
)Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Mount Sinai Medical Center,Box 1236, New York, NY 10029, USAe-mail: stevenlehrer@hotmail.com
 123
J NeurooncolDOI 10.1007/s11060-010-0280-z
 
Methods
The following sources were used:Reports of brain tumor incidence 2000–2004 and pop-ulation from 19 U.S. states: Az, Co, Ct, De, Id, Ma, Me,Mn, Mt, NC, ND, NM, NY, RI, SD, Tx, Ut, Va, WV, datafrom Table 9 of Ref. [6]. These 19 states were chosenbecause their cancer registries responded to the request of the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States forbrain tumor data. Brain tumor types are shown in Table1,which is derived from Table 1 of Ref. [6].2007Cellphonesubscriberdatafromthe
GoverningStateand Local Sourcebook 
(http://sourcebook.governing.com).Mean population age and income by state 2004–2006fromwww.census.gov.
Results
There was a significant correlation between number of cellphone subscriptions and brain tumors (
=
0.950,
P
\
0.001, Fig.1). Because increased numbers of both cellphone subscriptions and brain tumors could be due solelyto the fact that some states, such as New York, have muchlarger populations than other states, such as North Dakota,multiple linear regression was performed with number of brain tumors as the dependent variable, cell phone sub-scriptions, population, mean income (i.e socioeconomicstatus) and mean age as independent variables. The effectof cell phone subscriptions was significant (
P
=
0.017),and independent of the effect of mean income (
P
=
0.894),population (
P
=
0.003) and age (0.499).
Discussion
The association of cell phones and brain tumors remainscontroversial. The only documented adverse effect fromcell phones is an increased risk of automobile crashes whenthe phones are used while driving. Moreover, the lack of ionizing radiation and the low energy level emitted fromcell phones and absorbed by human tissues have led manyinvestigators to doubt that these devices cause cancer [7].
Table 1
Types of brain tumors included in analysis (Informationfrom Table 1 of reference 6)Tumors of neuroepithelial tissuePilocytic astrocytomaProtoplasmic and fibrillary astrocytomaAnaplastic astrocytomaUnique astrocytoma variantsAstrocytoma, not otherwise specifiedGlioblastomaOligodendrogliomaAnaplastic oligodendrogliomaEpendymoma/anaplastic ependymomaEpendymoma variantsMixed gliomaGlioma malignant, not otherwise specified Choroid plexusNeuroepithelialNon-malignant and malignant neuronal/glial, neuronal and mixedPineal parenchymalEmbryonal/primitive/medulloblastomaTumors of cranial and spinal nervesNerve sheath, non-malignant and malignantOther tumors of cranial and spinal nervesTumors of meningesMeningiomaOther mesenchymal, non-malignant and malignantHemangioblastomaLymphomas and hemopoietic neoplasmsLymphomaGerm cell tumors and cystsGerm cell tumors, cysts and heterotopiasTumors of sellar regionPituitary craniopharyngiomaLocal extensions from regional tumorsChordoma/chondrosarcomaUnclassified tumorsHemangiomaNeoplasm, unspecifiedAll other
Fig. 1
Log US cell phone subscriptions 2007 versus log brain tumorsreported to the Central Brain Tumor Registry of the United States(2000–2004) in 19 U.S. states. There is a significant correlation(
=
0.950,
P
\
0.001)J Neurooncol
 123

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