Study shows no connection between cell phone usage and brain cancer

December 19, 2000

NEW YORK, December 20, 2000 - With more than 86 million American cellular phone users reported in 1999 and the number still increasing, there has been growing concern about the risk of developing brain cancer from radiofrequency signals given off by handheld cellular phones. A case-control study of 891 people who regularly used a cellular phone showed no statistical association between the amount of cell phone usage and the likelihood of developing brain cancer. Researchers from the American Health Foundation and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and four United States medical centers reported their findings in the December 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"The recent phenomenon of widespread use of cellular phones had been a suspected risk factor for the development of brain cancer and needed to be clarified by a study," explained Joshua Muscat, MPH, of the Division of Epidemiology of the American Health Foundation and the study's first author. "The data showed no correlation between the use of cell phones and the development of brain cancer. In addition, there was no association between the amount of cell phone usage and brain cancer."

In a retrospective, case-control study, 469 men and women diagnosed with primary brain cancer and 422 people without brain cancer were interviewed between 1994 and 1998 using a structured questionnaire. They were asked which type of cell phone (manufacturer) they used, the usage per month in minutes and hours, the year of first use, and the number of years of usage. In addition, an estimated monthly phone bill was ascertained. The patients, aged 18 to 80, were scrupulously matched to the control group by age, sex, race, years of education, and occupation.

The usage reported for cancer patients and the control group was not statistically significant. The median monthly use was 2.5 hours for cases with cancer and 2.2 hours for the control. The mean duration of use was 2.8 years for brain cancer patients and 2.7 years for the controls.

"Because 85 per cent of people in the study reported extending the antenna during calls, we might have expected to find a disproportionate cluster of tumors behind the eye and the ear on the side the cell phone was used since radiation emission is highest at the antenna," said Mark Malkin, MD, a neuro-oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and study co-author. "In fact we found no link between cell phone usage and temporal lobe tumors, nor was there any association between handedness and tumor location."

The study was conducted through interviews of patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York University Medical Center, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. Muscat and the late Ernst L. Wynder, MD designed the study and conducted the statistical analysis under the auspices of the American Health Foundation.

Based on all available data including studies by other groups, the researchers believe that extended use of cellular phones does not appear to cause brain cancer. However, further research is indicated as this study covers people who have mostly used analog cellular phones for a relatively short period of time (two to three years). As people continue to use cell phones for extended durations, the long-term health effects, if any, need to be monitored.
-end-
This project was supported by a contract from Wireless Technology Research LLC and Public Service Health grants from National Cancer Institute.

CONTACTS:
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer
Center Joanne Nicholas
212 639-3573

American Health Foundation
Monica Bynoe
212 551-2546

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.