Hardell L, Nasman A, Pahlson A, Hallquist A.
This article is a follow-up to that previously published by these authors (Int J Oncol 1999; 15:113-116) - see summary. The patients and controls are the same. The authors have performed new statistical analyses on their data about cellular phones, and have included results on a variety of other exposures. They found that exposure to previous radiotherapy to the head and neck, or to medical diagnostic x-ray examination of the same area, was associated with an increased risk of brain tumour. Increased risks were also found for those who had worked in laboratories or in the chemical industry, and for use of aspartame (in malignant tumours but not in benign ones).

In the present paper, the authors combined the areas with highest exposure to microwaves from a cellular telephone (temporal, occipital, and temporoparietal lobes), the remaining lobes with low exposure, and each hemisphere separately. The occurrence of brain tumours in the "high exposure" area was found to be associated with an increased risk of use of the cell phone on that side (OR 2.42, increasing to 2.62 with multivariate analysis). There was no increased risk when the total hemisphere, or "low exposure" areas were analysed. The authors caution that their results for cellular phones in the "high exposure area" are based on small numbers (13 cases). In addition, as is pointed out in the November 1999 "What's New Archive", there is some concern that the authors did not include all possible cases from the region. It is of interest that information was available on hours of cumulative use of a cellular phone, but no results are given on a possible dose-response relationship. Twelve of the 13 cases had used NMT analogue phones.

This study provides interesting data on a variety of exposures. In view of the small numbers in the cellular phone analysis, further studies are needed.

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