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Mobile phone use and brain tumours in the CERENAT case-control study
  1. Gaëlle Coureau1,2,3,
  2. Ghislaine Bouvier1,2,
  3. Pierre Lebailly4,5,6,
  4. Pascale Fabbro-Peray7,8,
  5. Anne Gruber1,
  6. Karen Leffondre2,
  7. Jean-Sebastien Guillamo9,
  8. Hugues Loiseau10,
  9. Simone Mathoulin-Pélissier2,
  10. Roger Salamon2,3,
  11. Isabelle Baldi1,2,11
  1. 1Laboratoire Santé Travail Environnement, Univ. Bordeaux, ISPED, Bordeaux, France
  2. 2INSERM, ISPED, Centre INSERM U897-Epidémiologie-Biostatistique, Bordeaux, France
  3. 3CHU de Bordeaux, Service d'information médicale, Bordeaux, France
  4. 4INSERM, UMR1086-Cancers et Préventions, Caen, France
  5. 5Univ. Caen Basse-Normandie, Caen, France
  6. 6Centre François Baclesse, Caen, France
  7. 7Laboratoire d'Epidémiologie et de Biostatistiques, Univ. Montpellier, Institut Universitaire de Recherche Clinique, Montpellier, France
  8. 8Département d'informatique médicale, CHU de Nîmes, Nîmes, France
  9. 9Département de neurologie, CHU de Caen, Caen, France
  10. 10Service de Neurochirurgie, CHU de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France
  11. 11Service de Médecine du Travail, CHU de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gaëlle Coureau, Université Bordeaux Segalen, ISPED, Equipe Santé Travail Environnement, 146 rue Léo Saignat, 33076 Bordeaux, Cedex, France; gaelle.coureau{at}


The carcinogenic effect of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields in humans remains controversial. However, it has been suggested that they could be involved in the aetiology of some types of brain tumours.

Objectives The objective was to analyse the association between mobile phone exposure and primary central nervous system tumours (gliomas and meningiomas) in adults.

Methods CERENAT is a multicenter case-control study carried out in four areas in France in 2004–2006. Data about mobile phone use were collected through a detailed questionnaire delivered in a face-to-face manner. Conditional logistic regression for matched sets was used to estimate adjusted ORs and 95% CIs.

Results A total of 253 gliomas, 194 meningiomas and 892 matched controls selected from the local electoral rolls were analysed. No association with brain tumours was observed when comparing regular mobile phone users with non-users (OR=1.24; 95% CI 0.86 to 1.77 for gliomas, OR=0.90; 95% CI 0.61 to 1.34 for meningiomas). However, the positive association was statistically significant in the heaviest users when considering life-long cumulative duration (≥896 h, OR=2.89; 95% CI 1.41 to 5.93 for gliomas; OR=2.57; 95% CI 1.02 to 6.44 for meningiomas) and number of calls for gliomas (≥18 360 calls, OR=2.10, 95% CI 1.03 to 4.31). Risks were higher for gliomas, temporal tumours, occupational and urban mobile phone use.

Conclusions These additional data support previous findings concerning a possible association between heavy mobile phone use and brain tumours.

  • Case-control studies
  • Electromagnetic fields
  • Glioma
  • Meningioma
  • Mobile phone
  • Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields

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