No link between mobiles and brain cancer

London: There is no link between mobile phones and brain cancer, says a new study by the Institute of Cancer Research.

Despite near universal mobile use, there had been no jump in the number of tumours, the study said, the trend in the accumulating evidence is increasingly against the hypothesis that mobile use causes brain tumours in adults.

Professor Swerdlow and colleagues published the review in a paper in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Swerdlow is from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) who is the chairman of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) committee which conducted the review.

The group examined the Interphone study in detail, noting that it was impressively large and comprehensive but had several methodological deficits.

The group wrote studies from several countries have shown no indication of increases in brain tumour incidence up to 20 years after the introduction of mobile phones and 10 years after their use became widespread.

Extensive research has also not established any biological mechanism by which radio frequency fields from mobile phones could cause cancer, and animal experiments have also shown no evidence for cancer causation.

However, the authors say that uncertainty is bound to remain for many years, as research cannot prove the complete absence of an effect, data are currently generally limited to 10 to 15 years of exposure in adults, and its not available for childhood phone use.

The results of Interphone and other epidemiological, biological and animal studies, and brain tumour incidence trends suggest that within 10 to 15 years after first use of mobile phones there is unlikely to be a material increase in the risk of brain tumours in adults, said the Professor.

However, the possibility of a small or a longer term effect cannot be ruled out.

If there are no apparent effects on trends in the next few years, after almost universal exposure to mobile phones in Western countries, it will become increasingly implausible that there is a material causal effect, he said.

Conversely, if there are unexplained rising trends, there will be a case to answer, he said.

The review comes after the publication of the largest epidemiological study to date, the 13-country, Interphone Study, which was coordinated by the International Agency for Cancer Research.

ICNIRP Standing Committee on Epidemiology analysed published studies for the review examining link between mobile phone use and the types of brain tumour, glioma and meningioma.