Study design for a case-control investigation of cellular telephones and other risk factors for brain tumours in adults
Surveys and Questionnaires
The aetiology of brain tumours is poorly understood. Due, in part, to public concern about a postulated relationship between the use of cellular telephones or other increasingly prevalent environmental exposures and the incidence of brain cancer in adults, the National Cancer Institute is collaborating with three US hospitals in a comprehensive case-control study of malignant and benign brain tumours. Factors under consideration include use of cellular phones and other wireless communication devices, workplace exposures to chemical agents and electromagnetic fields, dietary factors, family history of tumours, genetic determinants of susceptibility, home appliance use, reproductive history and hormonal exposures, viruses, medical and dental exposure to ionising radiation, and other aspects of medical history. Approximately 800 newly diagnosed brain tumour cases and 800 controls were enrolled at hospitals in Boston, Phoenix and Pittsburgh from 1994 to 1998. Cases include all adults (age ≥ 18 y) newly diagnosed with a histologically confirmed intracranial glioma, histologically confirmed intracranial meningioma or acoustic neuroma. Controls are patients admitted to the same hospitals as the cases, and treated for any of a variety of non-malignant conditions. Key features of the study include its large size, the emphasis on rapid ascertainment of incident cases and interview of study subjects rather than surrogate respondents, the use of detailed, job-specific questions developed by industrial hygienists to ascertain occupational exposures, and the storage of blood samples for future evaluation of inherited susceptibility, biomarkers of exposure and gene-environment interactions.