Thursday, October 16, 2014

Decreased Survival of Glioma Patients with Astrocytoma Grade IV (Glioblastoma Multiforme) Associated with Long-Term Use of Mobile and Cordless Phones

Decreased Survival of Glioma Patients with Astrocytoma Grade IV (Glioblastoma Multiforme) Associated with Long-Term Use of Mobile and Cordless Phones

Carlberg M, Hardell L. Decreased Survival of Glioma Patients with Astrocytoma Grade IV (Glioblastoma Multiforme) Associated with Long-Term Use of Mobile and Cordless Phones. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2014; 11(10):10790-10805.


On 31 May 2011 the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) categorised radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) from mobile phones, and from other devices that emit similar non-ionising electromagnetic fields, as a Group 2B, i.e., a “possible”, human carcinogen. A causal association would be strengthened if it could be shown that the use of wireless phones has an impact on the survival of glioma patients.

We analysed survival of 1678 glioma patients in our 1997–2003 and 2007–2009 case-control studies. Use of wireless phones in the >20 years latency group (time since first use) yielded an increased hazard ratio (HR) = 1.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.2–2.3 for glioma. For astrocytoma grade IV (glioblastoma multiforme; n = 926) mobile phone use yielded HR = 2.0, 95% CI = 1.4–2.9 and cordless phone use HR = 3.4, 95% CI = 1.04–11 in the same latency category. The hazard ratio for astrocytoma grade IV increased statistically significant per year of latency for wireless phones, HR = 1.020, 95% CI = 1.007–1.033, but not per 100 h cumulative use, HR = 1.002, 95% CI = 0.999–1.005. HR was not statistically significant increased for other types of glioma.

Due to the relationship with survival the classification of IARC is strengthened and RF-EMF should be regarded as human carcinogen requiring urgent revision of current exposure guidelines. 
Open Access:
ExcerptsThe Nordic countries were among the first in the world to widely adopt wireless telecommunications technology. Analogue phones (Nordic Mobile Telephone System—NMT) were introduced in the 1980s using both 450 (1981 to 2007) and 900 (1986 to 2000) Megahertz (MHz) frequencies. The digital system (Global System for Mobile Communication—GSM) using two bands, 900 and 1800 MHz, started to operate in 1991 and now dominates the market. The third generation of mobile phones, 3G or Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS), using 1900/2100 MHz has been introduced worldwide during the last decade, and in Sweden in 2003. The fourth generation (4G; LTE) was introduced in parts of Sweden at the end of 2009.
Desktop cordless phones have been used in Sweden since 1988, first using the analogue 800–900 MHz frequencies, but since the early 1990s using a digital 1900 MHz system (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications—DECT). These phones also emit RF-EMF radiation similar to that of mobile phones. Thus, it is necessary to consider the usage of cordless phones, along with mobile phones, when human health risks are evaluated ....
Statistics of the age distribution are shown in Table 1 both for glioma cases exposed to wireless phones and for unexposed subjects. The median age for exposed cases was 54 years (range 19–80 years) and for unexposed cases 63 years (range 21–80 years), p < 0.0001. Of the glioma cases 322 (19%) were alive at 18 December 2013; 24 of astrocytoma grade IV (glioblastoma multiforme) cases (3%).
Adjustment was made for age (as a continuous variable), gender, year of diagnosis, socioeconomic (SEI)-code and study (material with living cases interviewed and material with next-of-kin interviewed). The proportional hazards assumption was tested using Schoenfeld residuals. A statistically significant violation of the proportionality assumption was detected for age; therefore age was also adjusted for as a time-dependent covariate ....
... HR increased with latency as in our first publication. Regarding cumulative use there was no statistically significant trend, except for cordless phones with increased HR per 100 hours cumulative use ...
For different types of glioma 95% CI included unity except for astrocytoma grade IV. This is the most malignant glioma type ...
Regarding astrocytoma grade IV, the most malignant glioma type, HR increased statistically significant per year of latency for mobile and cordless phone use and wireless phone use in total ...
We analyzed survival also for glioma in different anatomical localizations, temporal, frontal or other, without statistically significant findings ...
The results for other types of glioma are in contrast to the findings for astrocytoma grade IV ...
The study strengthens the proposed causal association between use of mobile and cordless phones and glioma [21]. Elevated HR (decreased survival) for the most malignant glioma type, astrocytoma grade IV, was found for long-term use of mobile and cordless phones. HR increased slightly for increasing cumulative use. Highest HR was found for cases with first use before the age of 20 years. These results indicate a survival disadvantage for use of wireless phones in that patient group. In contrast decreased HR (improved survival) was found for low-grade astrocytoma indicating survival benefit from wireless phone used. This may be explained by the fact that tumour volume was larger in exposed than in unexposed cases which would cause earlier detection and surgery. Surgery is a determinant for prognosis in this patient group. However, it should be noted that we have reported increased risk for both low-grade (grade I–II) and high-grade astrocytoma (grade III–IV) associated with use of mobile and cordless phones [22].
Sent by
Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley

Electromagnetic Radiation Safety

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