A recent article describes increasing incidence of the most malignant type of brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in England during 1995-2015. The number of patients increased from 2.4 to 5.0 per 100,000 during that time period. In total the yearly increase was from 983 to 2,531 patients, thus a substantial number. The incidence of low-grade glioma decreased but was stabilized from 2004, see figure 2. Thus the increasing incidence cannot be explained by low-grade glioma transforming to high-grade (GBM). The authors conclude that a general environmental factor must be the cause.
The increasing incidence is most pronounced for GBM in temporal or frontal parts of the brain, see figure 6. That is parts with highest exposure to radiofrequency radiation from the handheld wireless phone.
The increasing incidence of GBM was seen in all age groups but was most pronounced in those aged more than 55 years.
We published incidence data on brain tumours for the time period 1998-2015 based on the Swedish Cancer Register. In the age group 60-79 years the yearly incidence of high-grade glioma increased statistically significant in men with +1.68% (+0.39, +2.99 %) (n = 2,275) and in women with +1.38% (+0.32, +2.45%) (n = 1,585), see figures. Few patients were diagnosed in the age group 80+ yielding analysis less meaningful. High-grade glioma includes astrocytoma grades III and IV. Astrocytoma grade IV is the same as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) with bad prognosis, survival about one year or less.
Our results are similar to those now published from England. All results are in agreement with wireless phones (mobile phones and cordless phones) causing glioma.
Exposure to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF) was in 2002 classified as a possible human carcinogen, Group 2B, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) at WHO. In the international Interphone study on mobile phone use and glioma risk, glioma was associated with occupational ELF-EMF exposure in recent time windows. The authors concluded that such exposure may play a role in late stage carcinogenesis of glioma.
We assessed life time occupations in case-control studies during 1997-2003 and 2007-2009 on e.g. use of wireless phones and glioma risk. An ELF-EMF Job-Exposure Matrix was used for associating occupations with ELF exposure (μT). Cumulative exposure (μT-years), average exposure (μT), and maximum exposed job (μT) were calculated.
Cumulative exposure gave for astrocytoma grade IV (glioblastoma multiforme) in the time window 1-14 years before diagnosis odds ratio (OR) = 1.9, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.4-2.6, p linear trend <0.001, and in the time window 15+ years OR = 0.9, 95% CI = 0.6-1.3, p linear trend = 0.44 in the highest exposure categories 2.75+ and 6.59+ μT-years, respectively.
We concluded that we found an increased risk in late stage (promotion/progression) of astrocytoma grade IV for occupational ELF-EMF exposure. No statistically significant interaction was found between exposure to ELF-EMF and use of wireless phones (exposure to radiofrequency radiation; RF-EMF). They were independent risk factors for astrocytoma grade IV.
In a new study a decreased survival was found in glioblastoma patients with long-term use of mobile and cordless phones. The study is free to download here.
According to the study 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, a decreased survival. 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. Due to the relationship with survival the classification of IARC (possibly carcinogenic to humans, Group 2B) is strengthened and RF-EMF should be regarded as human carcinogen requiring urgent revision of current exposure guidelines. The findings are discussed in detail in the article.
The p53 protein is a transcription factor that plays a vital role in regulating cell growth, DNA repair and apoptosis, and p53 mutations are involved in disease progression. In a recent study it was found that use of mobile phones for ≥3 hours a day was associated with increased risk for the mutant type of p53 gene expression in the peripheral zone of astrocytoma grade IV. The mutation was statistically significant correlated with shorter overall survival time. The study was rather small (n=63) and no data on latency of mobile phone use was given.
We have previously reported decreased survival in patients with glioblastoma multiforme associated with use of mobile phones. The present study supports our findings and gives insight into a possible genetic mechanism both for the increased risk for glioblastoma multiforme and the decreased survival.