Childhood brain tumours and use of mobile phones: comparison of a case–control study with incidence data
1 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland
2 University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
3 Department of Epidemiology, Institute for Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
4 International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Section of Environment and Radiation, Lyon, France
Environmental Health 2012, 11:35 doi:10.1186/1476-069X-11-35Published: 20 May 2012
The first case–control study on mobile phone use and brain tumour risk among children and adolescents (CEFALO study) has recently been published. In a commentary published in Environmental Health, Söderqvist and colleagues argued that CEFALO suggests an increased brain tumour risk in relation to wireless phone use. In this article, we respond and show why consistency checks of case–control study results with observed time trends of incidence rates are essential, given the well described limitations of case–control studies and the steep increase of mobile phone use among children and adolescents during the last decade. There is no plausible explanation of how a notably increased risk from use of wireless phones would correspond to the relatively stable incidence time trends for brain tumours among children and adolescents observed in the Nordic countries. Nevertheless, an increased risk restricted to heavy mobile phone use, to very early life exposure, or to rare subtypes of brain tumours may be compatible with stable incidence trends at this time and thus further monitoring of childhood brain tumour incidence rate time trends is warranted.