Title ImageMTHR - Mobile Telecommunications and Health Research


Project Title:
A case-control study of risk of leukaemia in relation to use of mobile phones

Start Date:
November 2002

Expected Date of Completion:
March 2009


Project Team:

Principal Investigator:

Professor A.J. Swerdlow

Contact Details:

Institute of Cancer Research
Section of Epidemiology
Cotswold Road

Project Team:

Professor Greaves, Leukaemia Research Fund Centre, Institute of Cancer Research
Professor Linch, Department of Haematology, UCL Medical School


Professor Swerdlow has worked on epidemiological studies of cancer aetiology for the past 20 years. Professor Greaves has a long-established track record of research on the biology of leukaemia and has been director of the Leukaemia Research Fund Centre at the Institute of Cancer Research for 17 years. Professor Linch is a highly experienced academic haematologist and clinical oncologist who has been treating leukaemia for more than 20 years.


The project is a case-control study comparing mobile phone use and other radio-frequency radiation exposure, and in addition other potentially confounding exposures such as ionising radiation and genes, between cases (i.e. patients who have the study cancers) and controls (subjects who do not have these cancers). The study plans to recruit 900 leukaemia patients and 900 controls, aged 18 to 59 years in the south-east of England.

Potential Difficulties:

It is time consuming and expensive to identify, make contact with and interview patients of these studies, but we have considerable experience of so doing and with persistence these problems are overcome.


To address the possibility that mobile phone exposure may cause cancers in man, it is essential to investigate whether risk of cancer is raised in human populations according to their phone exposure. This is what this project sets out to do for leukaemia cancers for which the possibility of an association needs to be clarified.



Final Report:

The final report on this project is available to download.

Peer-reviewed Papers:

Results from the project have been published in the following peer-reviewed papers:

Cooke R, Laing S and Swerdlow AJ (2010). A case-control study of risk of leukaemia in relation to mobile phone use. Br J Cancer, 103(11), 1729-35. Link to open access paper.


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© MTHR 2003 | Page last updated: 24-Feb-2012 14:53