INTERPHONE: No Risk Increase for Acoustic Neuroma

The results for the INTERPHONE analysis of acoustic neuroma has been published in Cancer Epidemiology and finds no overall evidence of increased risk - a benign tumour of one of the nerves of the ear.

The authors conclude:

"There was no increase in risk of acoustic neuroma with ever regular use of a mobile phone or for users who began regular use 10 years or more before the reference date. Elevated odds ratios observed at the highest level of cumulative call time could be due to chance, reporting bias or a causal effect.
As acoustic neuroma is usually a slowly growing tumour, the interval between introduction of mobile phones and occurrence of the tumour might have been too short to observe an effect, if there is one."

This case-control study involved 1105 cases and 2145 controls from 13 countries. In findings similar to the combined results for glioma and menigioma, the authors found no trend for increasing risk with increasing exposure.

In the 10th decile (highest exposure) an increased risk was found in a small group of long-term users who used their phone on the same side as their tumour, but this result could be due to chance or bias in the study.

 The researchers noted:

'There were 16 cases (1.4%) and 22 controls (1.0%) who reported 5 hours or more of mobile phone use per day, an implausible amount, most of them contributing to the category of ≥1640 hours of cumulative call time.'

A press release from the British Columbia Cancer Agency, who collaborated in the Interphone study, states:

'This study does not support the idea of an increased risk of acquiring acoustic neuroma from using mobile phones. However, it’s important that we continue this type of research and examine high exposure groups such as long-term heavy users.'

Background Information -  tumours of the nervous system are rare and account for less than 2% of all malignancies (about 175 000 cases per year worldwide). Acoustic neuromas are a rare, benign and often slow-growing tumour of the nerve that connects the ear to the brain and it may be detected due to effects on hearing. It has a natural incidence of about 1 per 100,000 of the population.

Click here for the INTERPHONE paper

Click here for the British Columbia Cancer Agency Press Release

Click here for additional information on the INTERPHONE study.