Biggest Study Ever Reports on Mobiles and Brain Cancer

By Mobile Manufacturers Forum, PRNE
Saturday, May 15, 2010

HONG KONG, May 16, 2010 - The International Journal of Epidemiology today published a combined data
analysis from a multi national population-based case-control study of glioma
and meningioma, the most common types of brain tumour. This is the first in a
series of combined data analyses of head and neck tumours published as part
of the internationally coordinated INTERPHONE project.

The authors reported the following conclusion:

Overall, no increase in risk of glioma or meningioma was observed with
use of mobile phones. There were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma
at the highest exposure levels, but biases and error prevent a causal
interpretation. The possible effects of long-term heavy use of mobile phones
require further investigation.

In the press release accompanying the release of the paper, Dr
Christopher Wild, Director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer
(IARC) said: "An increased risk of brain cancer is not established from the
data from Interphone. However, observations at the highest level of
cumulative call time and the changing patterns of mobile phone use since the
period studied by Interphone, particularly in young people, mean that further
investigation of mobile phone use and brain cancer risk is merited."

Commenting on the study, Michael Milligan, Secretary General of the
Mobile Manufacturers Forum said "The INTERPHONE project is the biggest study
of its kind ever undertaken in this field and provides significant further
reassurance about the safety of mobile phones. The overall analysis is
consistent with previous studies and the significant body of research,
reporting no increased health risk from using mobile phones."

He continued "The absence of increased health risks include long term
mobile phone use for more than 10 years. The authors make it clear that the
data was insufficient for a clear interpretation of possible risk from
self-reported heavy use due to a number of possible errors or biases. For
example, the paper notes that there is evidence that people diagnosed with a
brain tumour over-reported their past mobile phone use and that 'recall
bias-like this may be more likely if subjects perceive that mobile phone use
is associated with brain tumours, as has been widely speculated in the

"Mobile phone users can take comfort in the fact that there is already a
substantial body of scientific evidence on the long-tem use of mobile phones
through whole-of-life animal studies, which have found no link between
long-term exposure to radiofrequency and health impacts," added Mr Milligan.

The INTERPHONE results now need to be considered by independent health
authorities, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and other expert
groups to assess their significance, if any, to people's health.

Mr Milligan added "The mobile industry supports the need for ongoing
research. In fact, a number of longer-term studies are already underway such
as the COSMOS study, which will follow the health of 250,000 European mobile
users for 20-30 years, and several studies are now looking at children and
teenagers, including the international MOBI-kids and CEFALO studies and the
Australian MoRPhEUS project."

Although INTERPHONE is a large and important study, it must be viewed in
context as only one of many studies that will be used in the overall
cancer-risk assessment to be undertaken by IARC in 2011.

The mobile phone industry takes all questions regarding the safety of
mobile phones seriously and has a strong commitment to supporting ongoing
scientific research such as the way it supported the INTERPHONE project.

Notes for editors:

This study is part of the combined analysis of the national data
collected as part of the 13 country INTERPHONE project, coordinated by the
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

The MMF provided partial funding for the INTERPHONE project in
conjunction with the GSM Association, the European Commission and many
national research funding bodies. Funding was provided in such a manner as to
ensure the full scientific independence of the study and the terms of the
funding agreement are publicly available at

Tumours of the nervous system are rare and account for less than 2% of
all malignancies (about 175,000 cases per year worldwide). Gliomas are a type
of brain tumour arising in cells of the brain and are diagnosed each year at
6-8 per 100,000 people in the west. Meningiomas arise from cells that make up
the covering around the brain and are even rarer, affecting fewer than 2 per
100,000 people.

Media enquiries:

    Kelly Parkinson
    Phone + 61-3-9530-5070
    Mobile + 61(0)419-521-059 (GMT +10)

Broadcast quality Video News Releases of Michael Milligan's comments can
be downloaded from the following link:

Small video preview files (non-Broadcast) are available at:

Audio News Releases can be downloaded from this link:

Key Quotes from the paper, which can be downloaded from:

"For meningioma …we conclude that INTERPHONE finds no signs of an
increased risk of meningioma among users of mobile telephones."

"Still, the evidence for an increased risk of glioma among the highest
users was inconclusive, as the increase could be due to one or more of the
possible sources of error discussed below."

"As noted earlier, there is evidence that cases tended to overestimate
their past exposure more than controls did."

"Our results are consistent with most of the research published to date."

"Much biological research has been done in recent years on possible
biological effects of RF fields. This work covers in vitro and in vivo
exposure, alone and in combination with other physical or chemical agents,
and has found no evidence that RF fields are carcinogenic in laboratory
rodents or cause DNA damage in cells in culture"

Kelly Parkinson, + 61-3-9530-5070, Mobile + 61(0)419-521-059 (GMT +10)

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