Original Paper

European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 22, Issue 9, pp 647-664

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

The INTERPHONE study: design, epidemiological methods, and description of the study population

  • Elisabeth CardisAffiliated withInternational Agency for Research on Cancer Email author 
  • , Lesley RichardsonAffiliated withInternational Agency for Research on Cancer
  • , Isabelle DeltourAffiliated withInternational Agency for Research on Cancer
  • , Bruce ArmstrongAffiliated withSydney Cancer Centre and School of Public Health, The University of Sydney
  • , Maria FeychtingAffiliated withInstitute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet
  • , Christoffer JohansenAffiliated withInstitute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society
  • , Monique KilkennyAffiliated withCancer Epidemiology Centre, The Cancer Council Victoria
  • , Patricia McKinneyAffiliated withCentre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Leeds
  • , Baruch ModanAffiliated withSackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University
    • , Siegal SadetzkiAffiliated withSackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv UniversityThe Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research, Chaim Sheba Medical Centre
    • , Joachim SchüzAffiliated withInstitute of Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz
    • , Anthony SwerdlowAffiliated withInstitute of Cancer Research
    • , Martine VrijheidAffiliated withInternational Agency for Research on Cancer
    • , Anssi AuvinenAffiliated withTampere School of Public Health, University of TampereSTUK – Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority
    • , Gabriele BergAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology and International Public Health, Faculty of Public Health, University of Bielefeld
    • , Maria BlettnerAffiliated withInstitute of Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz
    • , Joseph BowmanAffiliated withNational Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
    • , Julianne BrownAffiliated withSydney Cancer Centre and School of Public Health, The University of Sydney
    • , Angela ChetritAffiliated withThe Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research, Chaim Sheba Medical Centre
    • , Helle Collatz ChristensenAffiliated withInstitute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society
    • , Angus CookAffiliated withDepartment of Public Health, University of Western Australia
    • , Sarah HepworthAffiliated withCentre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Leeds
    • , Graham GilesAffiliated withCancer Epidemiology Centre, The Cancer Council Victoria
    • , Martine HoursAffiliated withUnité Mixte de Recherche Epidémiologique Transport Travail Environnement INRETS – UCBL – InVS
    • , Ivano IavaroneAffiliated withDepartment of Environment & Primary Prevention, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, National Health Institute
    • , Avital Jarus-HakakAffiliated withThe Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research, Chaim Sheba Medical Centre
    • , Lars KlaeboeAffiliated withThe Cancer Registry of Norway
    • , Daniel KrewskiAffiliated withMcLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, University of Ottawa
    • , Susanna LagorioAffiliated withNational Centre for Epidemiology, Surveillance and Health Promotion, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, National Health Institute
    • , Stefan LönnAffiliated withInstitute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet
    • , Simon MannAffiliated withHealth Protection Agency, Centre for Radiation Chemical and Environmental Hazards
    • , Mary McBrideAffiliated withB.C. Cancer Agency
    • , Kenneth MuirAffiliated withDivision of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Nottingham
    • , Louise NadonAffiliated withINRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, Université du Québec
    • , Marie-Elise ParentAffiliated withINRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, Université du Québec
    • , Neil PearceAffiliated withCentre for Public Health Research, Massey University
    • , Tiina SalminenAffiliated withTampere School of Public Health, University of TampereSTUK – Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority
    • , Minouk SchoemakerAffiliated withInstitute of Cancer Research
    • , Brigitte SchlehoferAffiliated withUnit of Environmental Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center
    • , Jack SiemiatyckiAffiliated withUniversity of Montreal
    • , Masao TakiAffiliated withDepartment of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Tokyo Metropolitan University
    • , Toru TakebayashiAffiliated withDepartment of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Keio University School of Medicine
    • , Tore TynesAffiliated withNational Institute of Occupational Health
    • , Martie van TongerenAffiliated withInstitute of Occupational Medicine
    • , Paolo VecchiaAffiliated withDepartment Technology and Health, National Institute of Health
    • , Joe WiartAffiliated withFrance Telecom R&D
    • , Alistair WoodwardAffiliated withSchool of Population Health, University of Auckland
    • , Naohito YamaguchiAffiliated withTokyo Women’s Medical University

Abstract

The very rapid worldwide increase in mobile phone use in the last decade has generated considerable interest in the possible health effects of exposure to radio frequency (RF) fields. A multinational case–control study, INTERPHONE, was set-up to investigate whether mobile phone use increases the risk of cancer and, more specifically, whether the RF fields emitted by mobile phones are carcinogenic. The study focused on tumours arising in the tissues most exposed to RF fields from mobile phones: glioma, meningioma, acoustic neurinoma and parotid gland tumours. In addition to a detailed history of mobile phone use, information was collected on a number of known and potential risk factors for these tumours. The study was conducted in 13 countries. Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and the UK using a common core protocol. This paper describes the study design and methods and the main characteristics of the study population. INTERPHONE is the largest case–control study to date investigating risks related to mobile phone use and to other potential risk factors for the tumours of interest and includes 2,765 glioma, 2,425 meningioma, 1,121 acoustic neurinoma, 109 malignant parotid gland tumour cases and 7,658 controls. Particular attention was paid to estimating the amount and direction of potential recall and participation biases and their impact on the study results.

Keywords

Mobile phones Case–control Methods Study design Cancer Benign tumours Brain tumours Acoustic neurinoma Parotid gland tumours