Analyses of temporal and spatial patterns of glioblastoma multiforme and other brain cancer subtypes in relation to mobile phones using synthetic counterfactuals

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Abstract

This study assesses whether temporal trends in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in different brain regions, and of different malignant and benign (including acoustic neuroma and meningioma) subtypes in the temporal lobe, could be associated with mobile phone use.

Annual 1985–2005 incidence of brain cancer subtypes for England were linked to population-level covariates. Bayesian structural timeseries were used to create 2006–2014 counterfactual trends, and differences with measured newly diagnosed cases were interpreted as causal effects.

Increases in excess of the counterfactuals for GBM were found in the temporal (+38% [95% Credible Interval -7%,78%]) and frontal (+36% [-8%,77%]) lobes, which were in agreement with hypothesised temporal and spatial mechanisms of mobile phone usage, and cerebellum (+59% [-0%,120%]). However, effects were primarily present in older age groups, with largest effects in 75 + and 85 + groups, indicating mobile phone use is unlikely to have been an important putative factor. There was no evidence of an effect of mobile phone use on incidence of acoustic neuroma and meningioma.

Although 1985–2014 trends in GBM in the temporal and frontal lobes, and probably cerebellum, seem consistent with mobile phone use as an important putative factor, age-group specific analyses indicate that it is unlikely that this correlation is causal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-335
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Research
Volume168
Early online date17 Oct 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019

Keywords

  • Brain cancer
  • Glioblastoma multiforme
  • GBM
  • Mobile phones
  • Cellphones
  • Timeseries
  • Bayesian
  • Structural timeseries

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