Mobile phone use has been increasing rapidly in the past decades and, in parallel, so has the annual incidence of certain types of brain cancers. However, it remains unclear whether this correlation is coincidental or whether use of mobile phones may cause the development, promotion or progression of specific cancers. The 1985-2014 incidence of selected brain cancer subtypes in England were analyzed and compare these with counterfactual ‘synthetic control’ timeseries.
Annual 1985-2014 incidence of malignant glioma, glioblastoma multiforme, and malignant neoplasms of the temporal and parietal lobes in England were modelled based on population-level covariates using Bayesian structural time series models assuming 5,10 and 15 year minimal latency periods. Post-latency counterfactual ‘synthetic England’ timeseries were nowcast based on covariate trends. The impact of mobile phone use was inferred from differences between measured and modelled time series.
There is no evidence of an increase in malignant glioma, glioblastoma multiforme, or malignant neoplasms of the parietal lobe not predicted in the ‘synthetic England’ time series. Malignant neoplasms of the temporal lobe however, have increased faster than expected. A latency period of 10 years reflected the earliest latency period when this was measurable and related to mobile phone penetration rates, and indicated an additional increase of 35% (95% Credible Interval 9%:59%) during 2005-2014; corresponding to 188 (95%CI 48-324) cases annually.
A causal factor, of which mobile phone use (and possibly other wireless equipment) is in agreement with the hypothesized temporal associations, is related to an increased risk of developing malignant neoplasms in the temporal lobe.
- Mobile phones
- Cell Phones
- Brain cancer