Brain tumour risk grows

Brain tumour findings strengthen the case for the carcinogenicity of mobile phone radiation.

Long-term use of cordless and mobile phones decreases the survival of people with brain tumours and this finding strengthens the evidence that wireless radiation causes brain tumours, say researchers from Sweden.

Co-author Lennart Hardell has previously shown that long-term mobile phone use increases the risk of gliomas and acoustic neuromas. In his latest study, with Michael Carlberg, Hardell shows that it also has a bearing on patients’ survival.

The authors analysed data from Hardell’s previous survival studies and tracked 1678 gliomas patients till December 2013. They found increased risks of early death from brain tumours, which they referred to as Hazard Ratio (HR). Their findings showed that:

  • using a cordless phone for more than 20 years increased the HR for gliomas by 80%;
  • people who used mobiles for more than 20 years had double the HR of the most malignant type of gliomas— astrocytoma IV—and the risk was more than treble for cordless phone users;
  • people who began using a mobile or wireless phone before the age of 20 had double or more risk of early death;
  • mobile phone users with grade IV astrocytomas had bigger tumours than non-users.

The authors say, ‘Subjects with first use before the age of 20 have higher risk to

develop astrocytoma grade IV, and they have also worse prognosis than in higher age groups.’ This has important implications for children’s use of wireless phones.

‘The study strengthens the proposed causal association between use of mobile and cordless phones and gliomas,’ the paper says. According to the authors, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) should reclassify radiofrequency radiation as a human carcinogen (it’s currently categorised as a ‘possible’ carcinogen) and international guidelines for exposure should be revised.

The authors’ findings are supported by a recent study by Akhavan-Sigari et al (see page 4).

(Carlberg, M and Hardell, L, Int J Environ Res Public Health 11:10790-10805, 2014.)