Occup Environ Med 64:626-632 doi:10.1136/oem.2006.029751
  • Original article

Long-term use of cellular phones and brain tumours: increased risk associated with use for ⩾10 years

  1. Lennart Hardell1,
  2. Michael Carlberg2,
  3. Fredrik Söderqvist3,
  4. Kjell Hansson Mild4,
  5. L. Lloyd Morgan5
  1. 1Department of Oncology, University Hospital, Örebro and Department of Natural Sciences, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden
  2. 2Department of Oncology, University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden
  3. 3Department of Oncology, University Hospital and Institute of Clinical Medicine, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden
  4. 4National Institute for Working Life, Umeå and Department of Natural Sciences, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden
  5. 5Francisco Street, Berkeley, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr L Hardell
 Department of Oncology, University Hospital, SE-701 85 Örebro, Sweden; lennart.hardell{at}
  • Accepted 28 March 2007
  • Published Online First 4 April 2007


Aim: To evaluate brain tumour risk among long-term users of cellular telephones.

Methods: Two cohort studies and 16 case–control studies on this topic were identified. Data were scrutinised for use of mobile phone for ⩾10 years and ipsilateral exposure if presented.

Results: The cohort study was of limited value due to methodological shortcomings in the study. Of the 16 case–control studies, 11 gave results for ⩾10 years’ use or latency period. Most of these results were based on low numbers. An association with acoustic neuroma was found in four studies in the group with at least 10 years’ use of a mobile phone. No risk was found in one study, but the tumour size was significantly larger among users. Six studies gave results for malignant brain tumours in that latency group. All gave increased odd ratios (OR), especially for ipsilateral exposure. In a meta-analysis, ipsilateral cell phone use for acoustic neuroma was OR = 2.4 (95% CI 1.1 to 5.3) and OR = 2.0, (1.2 to 3.4) for glioma using a tumour latency period of ⩾10 years.

Conclusions: Results from present studies on use of mobile phones for ⩾10 years give a consistent pattern of increased risk for acoustic neuroma and glioma. The risk is highest for ipsilateral exposure.


  • Published Online First 4 April 2007

  • Competing interests: none declared