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April 11, 2001

Handheld Cellular Telephones and Brain Cancer Risk

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;285(14):1838-1839. doi:10.1001/jama.285.14.1838

To the Editor: Dr Muscat and colleagues1 found no statistically significant (P<.05) association between use of handheld telephones and risk of brain cancer. However, the authors excluded a significant portion of their data set from consideration. Of the 469 cases, 130 patients were not approached or were excluded based on illness. By removing those individuals who were exhibiting effects that may have represented aggressive cancer treatment or progression of virulent malignant disease, Muscat et al have weighted their data toward individuals with more slowly growing tumors. Since higher-grade neoplasms have a shorter latency period than do lower-grade cancers, it may well be that the very information these researchers set out to gather was inadvertently lost for the purpose of the study.