Year : 2017 | Volume
: 8 | Issue : 4 | Page : 165--167
Mobile phone use and cancer: Does dose really matter?
SMJ Mortazavi1, Kaushala P Mishra2,
1 Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA
2 Bhaba Atomic Research Center, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Dr. SMJ Mortazavi
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA
The past decades have witnessed rapid evolution of telecommunication technology and wireless devices. Due to these rapid advances, cell phone usage has remarkably increased the level of human exposure to radiofrequency-electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs). In the past, it was widely believed that, RF-EMF, in contrast to ionizing radiation, does not have enough energy for ionizing atoms and hence does not cause DNA damage which can lead to cancer. However, substantial evidence now indicates that RF-EMFs increase the reactive oxygen species production and DNA damages which play an important role in the initiation and progression of cancer. Currently, there is no widely accepted answer to this question whether there is a relationship between exposure to RF-EMFs from cell phones and cancer incidence and mortality. Although it seems that this issue is a long-term unsolved problem, new studies have raised new concerns over the safety of mobile phones. Mortazavi have previously studied the health effects of cellular phones, mobile base stations, and Wi-Fi. They have also reviewed reports claiming no link between exposure to RF and brain cancer. They found that in many cases there were large errors and/or major shortcomings in these articles. They have also reported that current controversies may be caused by the key parameter of the large difference in the magnitude of exposures to RF-EMFs in different studies. In this light, in a similar pattern with ionizing radiation, a nonlinear J-shaped dose–response relationship for the carcinogenesis of nonionizing RF-EMF is introduced.
|How to cite this article:|
Mortazavi S, Mishra KP. Mobile phone use and cancer: Does dose really matter?.J Radiat Cancer Res 2017;8:165-167
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Mortazavi S, Mishra KP. Mobile phone use and cancer: Does dose really matter?. J Radiat Cancer Res [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Dec 9 ];8:165-167
Available from: http://www.journalrcr.org/text.asp?2017/8/4/165/222441
Rapidly growing usage of cell phones has increased the level of human exposure to radiofrequency-electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs). The RF-EMFs produced by mobile phones are currently classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)., In the past, it was widely believed that, RF-EMF, in contrast to ionizing radiation, does not have enough energy for ionizing atoms and hence does not cause DNA damage which may lead to cancer. However, numerous reports now indicate that RF-EMFs increase the production of reactive oxygen species. It is well documented that oxidative damage to cellular DNA in turn causes mutations and, through this mechanism, plays a key role in the initiation and progression of multistage carcinogenesis.
The Controversy of Radiofrequency -Induced Cancers
Current data on the relationship between exposure to RF-EMFs from cell phones and cancer incidence are still inconclusive, with some studies indicating that there is an increased risk of brain cancer following exposure to RF-EMF and others suggesting that there is no increased risk. This issue is a long-term unsolved problem. Since the usage of cell phones is continuing to increase worldwide, the possibility that such use may be increasing cancer risk is of considerable concern. Over the past several years, Mortazavi et al. have conducted experiments on the health effects of exposure to some common sources of EMFs such as cellular phones,,,,,,,,,,,, mobile base stations,, and Wi-Fi routers.,,,,,, Moreover, Mortazavi et al. have recently reviewed currently published papers claiming no link between exposure to RF and brain cancer. They found that in many cases there were large errors and/or major shortcomings in these articles.,,, For example, in one of the articles reviewed by this research group, a 400% difference in brain tumors was ignored due to poor statistics!
J-Shaped Dose–response Relationship
Considering the controversies that exist today, Mortazavi et al. have recently reported that these controversies may be caused by several key parameters, especially the large difference in the magnitude of exposures to RF-EMFs in different studies. They have provided substantial evidence indicating that, in a similar pattern with ionizing radiation, the carcinogenesis of nonionizing RF-EMF may have a nonlinear J-shaped dose–response relationship.
It is worth noting that a large-scale study has recently been conducted by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP). This study revealed statistically significant increases in cancer in rodents that had been exposed to Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) or Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) signals for 2 years. Moreover, NTP showed that, when the intensity of the radiation increased, the incidence of cancer among the rats also increased. This 25,000,000 USD study that is the most complex study completed by the NTP showed that the occurrence of malignant gliomas in the brain and schwannomas of the heart can be linked to exposure to mobile phone RF radiation (RFR). “The occurrences of two tumor types in male Harlan Sprague-Dawley rats exposed to RFR, malignant gliomas in the brain, and schwannomas of the heart were considered of particular interest and are the subject of this report.”
The findings of INTERPHONE study which was undertaken as a collaborative effort between a number of partner institutions, co-ordinated by IARC, failed to show a link between mobile phone usage and cancer. “No elevated odds ratio (OR) for glioma or meningioma was observed ≥10 years after the first phone use. There were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma, and much less so in meningioma, in the highest decile of cumulative call time, in individuals who reported usual phone use on the same side of the head as their tumor, and for glioma, for tumors in the temporal lobe. Biases and errors limit the strength of the conclusions that can be drawn from these analyses and prevent a causal interpretation. However, recently, Momoli et al. have performed a re-analysis of the Canadian data from the 13-country INTERPHONE case–control study, and when they applied a probabilistic multiple bias model to address possible biases simultaneously, the OR for glioma comparing the highest quartile of use (>558 cumulative lifetime hours of use) to nonregular users was 2.0 (95% confidence interval: 1.2, 3.4). When adjusted for selection and recall biases, the OR was 2.2 (95% confidence interval: 1.3, 4.1).
It can be concluded that at least some of the reports claiming no link between exposure to RF and brain cancer have shortcomings. Current controversies regarding the relationship between mobile phone usage and cancer may be caused by the key parameter of the large difference in the magnitude of exposures to RF-EMFs in different studies. Therefore, a nonlinear J-shaped dose–response relationship for the carcinogenesis of nonionizing RF-EMF is introduced. This J-shaped dose–response relationship shows that the possibility of detecting RF-induced brain cancers at low doses is very low. Furthermore, this model can reduce the irrational fear of the risks associated with exposure to very low levels of RF-EMFs in people who are only occasional users of mobile phones.
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Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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