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Survival of glioma patients in relation to mobile phone use in Denmark, Finland and Sweden

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Abstract

Purpose

Gliomas are the most common cancer of the brain, with a poor prognosis in particular for glioblastoma. In 2014, a study suggested reduced survival in relation to latency of mobile phone use among glioblastoma patients. A joint epidemiological/experimental project to study effects of RF-EMF on tumor development and progression was established. The current analysis relates to the epidemiological part and addresses whether pre-diagnostic mobile phone use was associated with survival among glioma patients.

Methods

Glioma cases (n = 806) previously enrolled in a collaborative population-based case–control study in Denmark, Finland and Sweden were followed up for survival. Vital status, date of death, date of emigration, or date last known to be alive was obtained based on registry linkages with a unique personal ID in each country. Cox regression models were used to calculate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) stratified by country. Covariates investigated were sex, age, education, histology, treatment, anatomic location and marital status.

Results

No indication of reduced survival among glioblastoma patients was observed for various measures of mobile phone use (ever regular use, time since start of regular use, cumulative call time overall or in the last 12 months) relative to no or non-regular use. All significant associations suggested better survival for mobile phone users. Results were similar for high-grade and low-grade gliomas.

Conclusions

We found no evidence of reduced survival among glioma patients in relation to previous mobile phone use.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the French National Research Program for Environmental and Occupational Health of ANSES (2014/2 RF/002) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France. The INTERPHONE study was supported by the European Union Fifth Framework Program “Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources” (contract number QLK4-CT-1999-01563), and The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). The UICC received funds for this purpose from the Mobile Manufacturers’ Forum and GSM Association. The provision of funds to the INTERPHONE study investigators via the UICC was governed by agreements that guaranteed INTERPHONE’s complete scientific independence. Additional support was obtained for the Swedish part from the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Cancer Society, for the Danish part from the Danish Cancer Society, and the Finnish part from the Emil Aaltonen Foundation and Academy of Finland. The treatment data were collected separately with specific funding from Cancer Foundation Norrland and the cutting edge hospital grant for Umeå University hospital in Sweden.

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Correspondence to Ann Olsson.

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Conflict of interest

Anssi Auvinen has received research funding for the COSMOS cohort study from the National Technology Agency (TEKES) including contributions from Nokia and mobile network operators Elisa and Sonera and from Mobile Manufacturers’ Forum through Pirkanmaa Hospital District as a firewall. Professor Auvinen holds a part-time employment at STUK Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority and is member of ICNIRP expert group on Data Gaps. Maria Feychting is vice chairman of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, an independent body setting guidelines for non-ionizing radiation protection. She serves as advisor to a number of national and international public advisory and research steering groups concerning the potential health effects of exposure to non-ionizing radiation. Professor Feychting is co-investigator of the COSMOS cohort study, funded by the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, AFA Insurance (https://www.afaforsakring.se/andra-sprak/engelska/), and VINNOVA (The Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems, https://www.vinnova.se/en/). VINNOVA received funds for this purpose from TeliaSonera, Ericsson AB, and Telenor. The provision of funds to the COSMOS study investigators via VINNOVA is governed by agreements that guarantees COSMOS’ complete scientific independence. Remaining authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

Ethical approvals for the original case-control studies were obtained in accordance with legislation in each country, and the ethical approval for the current study was obtained from the IARC Ethics Committee (Project 15-09).

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Olsson, A., Bouaoun, L., Auvinen, A. et al. Survival of glioma patients in relation to mobile phone use in Denmark, Finland and Sweden. J Neurooncol 141, 139–149 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11060-018-03019-5

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