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Interphone, IARC and radiofrequency fields: where to next?
  1. Malcolm R Sim1,
  2. David B Richardson2
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine, Monash University
  2. 2School of Public health, University of North Carolina, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Malcolm R Sim, Department of Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Victoria, Melbourne 3004, Australia; malcolm.sim{at}

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With more than 4.6 billion mobile phone subscribers globally, increasing use of mobile phones by younger people and a rise in the number of other sources of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF), there continues to be public concern about the risk of cancer and other adverse health outcomes.1 This edition of Occupational and Environmental Medicine contains the two most recent papers from the Interphone study, the multicentre case control study of adult brain tumours and mobile phone use. One paper presents the results for 553 glioma and 676 meningioma cases and their controls for which the authors estimated the total cumulative specific energy (TCSE) of RF-EMF at the estimated tumour centre.2 The results suggest a trend of increasing ORs for glioma with increasing estimated cumulative RF exposure in the period seven or more years prior to case diagnosis, while no trend was observed with exposure in the time-windows 1 to <3 or 3 to <7 years prior to diagnosis. A particular strength of this analysis was the inclusion of several sensitivity analyses, which indicated that the findings for the highest quintile of exposure were robust to changes, such as using the lowest quintile of TCSE as the reference category.

Most previous studies of brain tumours and mobile phone use have used exposure surrogates, such as number and duration of calls, which are known to involve considerable random error3 and importantly for cancer studies may involve differential recall errors in more distant times.4 TCSE was presumed by the authors to represent a more biologically-relevant metric of RF exposure. The other Interphone paper in this edition …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.