Use of Mobile Phones and Brain Cancer Risk in Children?

  • Martin Röösli
  • Maria Feychting
  • Joachim Schüz
Part of the Tumors of the Central Nervous System book series (TCNS, volume 13)


Use of mobile phones among children and adolescents has steeply increased over the last decade and this has raised concerns about a potential increased brain tumor risk in this age group from radiofrequency electromagnetic waves emitted by mobile phones. Until now, only one multi-center case-control study and various incidence rate time trend analyses have addressed the issue. Overall these data do not suggest an increased brain tumor risk from using mobile phones. However, some uncertainties remain with respect to heavy mobile phone use, with early life exposure, with rare histological subtypes or with longer latencies and subsequent development of brain tumors in adulthood. In this special situation, with a steep increase in exposure prevalence (mobile phone use), the availability of virtually complete cancer registry data in various countries, and the limited number of known other environmental co-risk factors, result of incidence time trends analyses are considered more informative than in many other situations. Thus, further monitoring of childhood brain tumor incidence rate time trends is warranted given the dramatic public health consequences of even a small individual risk increase.


Brain Tumor Mobile Phone Childhood Brain Tumor Cordless Phone Mobile Phone Handset 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Aydin D, Feychting M, Schüz J, Andersen TV, Poulsen AH, Prochazka M, Klaeboe L, Kuehni CE, Tynes T, Röösli M (2011a) Impact of random and systematic recall errors and selection bias in case-control studies on mobile phone use and brain tumors in adolescents (CEFALO study). Bioelectromagnetics 32:396–407PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aydin D, Feychting M, Schüz J, Andersen TV, Poulsen AH, Prochazka M, Klaeboe L, Kuehni CE, Tynes T, Röösli M (2011b) Predictors and overestimation of recalled mobile phone use among children and adolescents. Prog Biophys Mol Biol 107:356–361PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aydin D, Feychting M, Schüz J, Tynes T, Andersen TV, Schmidt LS, Poulsen AH, Johansen C, Prochazka M, Lannering B, Klaeboe L, Eggen T, Jenni D, Grotzer M, Von der Weid N, Kuehni CE, Röösli M (2011c) Mobile phone use and brain tumors in children and adolescents: a multicenter case-control study. J Natl Cancer Inst 103:1264–1276PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baan R, Grosse Y, Lauby-Secretan B, El Ghissassi F, Bouvard V, Benbrahim-Tallaa L, Guha N, Islami F, Galichet L, Straif K, WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph Working Group (2011) Carcinogenicity of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. Lancet Oncol 12:624–626PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Baldwin RT, Preston-Martin S (2004) Epidemiology of brain tumors in childhood – a review. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 199:118–131PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boice JD Jr, Tarone RE (2011) Cell phones, cancer, and children. J Natl Cancer Inst 103:1211–1213PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Challis LJ (2005) Mechanisms for interaction between RF fields and biological tissue. Bioelectromagnetics Suppl 7: S98–S106Google Scholar
  8. Connelly JM, Malkin MG (2007) Environmental risk factors for brain tumors. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep 7:208–214PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. de Vocht F, Burstyn I, Cherrie JW (2011) Time trends (1998–2007) in brain cancer incidence rates in relation to mobile phone use in England. Bioelectromagnetics 32:334–339PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Deltour I, Auvinen A, Feychting M, Johansen C, Klaeboe L, Sankila R, Schuz J (2012) Mobile phone use and incidence of glioma in the Nordic countries 1979–2008: consistency check. Epidemiology 23:301–307PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dobes M, Khurana VG, Shadbolt B, Jain S, Smith SF, Smee R, Dexter M, Cook R (2011) Increasing incidence of glioblastoma multiforme and meningioma and decreasing incidence of Schwannoma (2000–2008): findings of a multicenter Australian study. Surg Neurol Int 176:783–790Google Scholar
  12. Frei P, Mohler E, Neubauer G, Theis G, Burgi A, Frohlich J, Braun-Fahrlander C, Bolte J, Egger M, Roosli M (2009) Temporal and spatial variability of personal exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields. Environ Res 109:779–785PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gati A, Hadjem A, Wong M-F, Wiart J (2009) Exposure induced by WCDMA mobiles phones in operating networks. IEEE Trans Wirel Commun 8:5723–5727CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hardell L, Carlberg M (2009) Mobile phones, cordless phones and the risk for brain tumours. Int J Oncol 35:5–17PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Hug K, Grize L, Seidler A, Kaatsch P, Schuz J (2010) Parental occupational exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields and childhood cancer: a German case-control study. Am J Epidemiol 171:27–35PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Huncharek M, Kupelnick B, Klassen H (2002) Maternal smoking during pregnancy and the risk of childhood brain tumors: a meta-analysis of 6566 subjects from twelve epidemiological studies. J Neurooncol 57:51–57PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. ICNIRP and (International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection) (1998) Guidelines for limiting exposure to time-varying electric, magnetic, and electromagnetic fields (up to 300 GHz). Health Phys 74:494–522Google Scholar
  18. Inskip PD, Hoover RN, Devesa SS (2010) Brain cancer incidence trends in relation to cellular telephone use in the United States. Neuro Oncol 12:1147–1151PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. INTERPHONE, s. g (2010) Brain tumour risk in relation to mobile telephone use: results of the INTERPHONE international case-control study. Int J Epidemiol 39:675–694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kheifets L, Repacholi M, Saunders R, van Deventer E (2005) The sensitivity of children to electromagnetic fields. Pediatrics 116:e303–e313PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kheifets L, Ahlbom A, Crespi CM, Feychting M, Johansen C, Monroe J, Murphy MF, Oksuzyan S, Preston-Martin S, Roman E, Saito T, Savitz D, Schüz J, Simpson J, Swanson J, Tynes T, Verkasalo P, Mezei G (2010) A pooled analysis of extremely low-frequency magnetic fields and childhood brain tumors. Am J Epidemiol 172:752–761PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lahkola A, Auvinen A, Raitanen J, Schoemaker MJ, Christensen HC, Feychting M, Johansen C, Klaeboe L, Lonn S, Swerdlow AJ, Tynes T, Salminen T (2007) Mobile phone use and risk of glioma in 5 North European countries. Int J Cancer 120:1769–1775PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lampert T, Sygusch R, Schlack R (2007) Use of electronic media in adolescence. Results of the German health interview and examination survey for children and adolescents (KiGGS). Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz 50:643–652PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Little MP, Rajaraman P, Curtis RE, Devesa SS, Inskip PD, Check DP, Linet MS (2012) Mobile phone use and glioma risk: comparison of epidemiological study results with incidence trends in the United States. BMJ 344:e1147. doi: 10.1136/bmj.e1147 PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. McKinney PA (2005) Central nervous system tumours in children: epidemiology and risk factors. Bioelectromagnetics S7:60–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pollack IF, Jakacki RI (2011) Childhood brain tumors: epidemiology, current management and future directions. Nat Rev Neurol 7:495–506PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Repacholi MH, Lerchl A, Röösli M, Sienkiewicz Z, Auvinen A, Breckenkamp J, d’Inzeo G, Elliott P, Frei P, Heinrich S, Lagroye I, Lahkola A, McCormick DL, Thomas S, Vecchia P (2012) Systematic review of wireless phone use and brain cancer and other head tumors. Bioelectromagnetics 33:187–206PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Schmidt LS, Schmiegelow K, Lahteenmaki P, Trager C, Stokland T, Grell K, Gustafson G, Sehested A, Raashou-Nielsen O, Johansen C, Schuz J (2011) Incidence of childhood central nervous system tumors in the Nordic countries. Pediatr Blood Cancer 56:65–69PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Söderqvist F, Carlberg M, Hansson Mild K, Hardell L (2011) Childhood brain tumour risk and its association with wireless phones: a commentary. Environ Health A Glob Access Sci Source 10:106Google Scholar
  30. Swerdlow AJ, Feychting M, Green AC, Leeka Kheifets LK, Savitz DA (2011) Mobile phones, brain tumors, and the interphone study: where are we now? Environ Health Perspect 119:1534–1538PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wiart J, Hadjem A, Wong MF, Bloch I (2008) Analysis of RF exposure in the head tissues of children and adults. Phys Med Biol 53:3681–3695PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Röösli
    • 1
  • Maria Feychting
    • 2
  • Joachim Schüz
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Epidemiology and Public HealthSwiss Tropical and Public Health InstituteBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Environmental MedicineKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Section of Environment and RadiationInternational Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)LyonFrance

Personalised recommendations