Special Session at BEMS 30th annual Meeting

Epidemiological Studies on the Risk of Brain Tumors from Cell Phone Use

Cellular telephones and brain tumours – is there a risk or not? How controversial is this topic? At least 30 epidemiological studies have been completed and published to date. Many believe it is time to draw an interim result. Despite the fact that many studies differ in methodology and details that obviously matter, quite a number of publications provide an abundance of effect estimates. So, is there a better plan than inviting key researchers of the individual studies to introduce their work in one joint scientific session and invite a renowned expert in epidemiology to summarize the findings before discussing them in plenary? Such a session is planned for the upcoming annual meeting in 2008 in San Diego.

Session organizers have divided the original peer-reviewed papers from these studies into four categories:

  • independent case-control studies based on brain tumor cases diagnosed in the late 90’s, with the two biggest studies conducted in the USA.
  • case-control study series from Sweden conducted by Professor Hardell and co-workers.
  • cohort studies including the Danish retrospective cohort of cellular telephone subscribers and the multinational prospective cohort study (Cosmos) which just started in Denmark and is about to start in Sweden, the UK, and Finland.
  • the Interphone study, which is a pooled analyses of 16 case-control studies conducted in 13 countries. Several of the national studies have already been published.

Each category will be presented by a principal investigator of the respective studies. Dr Martha Linet, Chief of the Radiation Epidemiology Branch of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), USA, will present the category 1 studies focusing on the large NCI study published in 2001. Dr Lennart Hardell, Professor at the Department of Oncology of the University Hospital of Örebro, Sweden, will present the Swedish case-control study series. Dr Joachim Schüz, Head of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Copenhagen, Denmark, will present the cohort studies. Dr Elisabeth Cardis, Head of the Radiation Group at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Lyon, France, (soon to move to the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology, Barcelona, Spain) is the coordinator of the Interphone study and will present all Interphone results that are published before the BEMS meeting.

To aid the audience in the overall interpretation of the four presentations, Dr Jørn Olsen, Professor and Chair at the Department of Epidemiology, UCLA School of Public Health, USA, will present his view and summarize the available findings. After this final talk, a plenary discussion will commence with the five speakers. Professor Maria Feychting from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden will chair the plenary session. Watch for this session on Monday, June 9, starting at 4 pm.