Registre National des Cancers de l’Enfant


Communication technologies, environment and brain tumours in young people.

Investigators Brigitte Lacour, RNTSE CHRU Nancy et INSERM UMRS 1153 - team EPICEA
Study period 2009-2015

MOBI-KIDS is an international study aiming to assess the potential carcinogenic effects on the central nervous system of childhood and adolescent exposure to radio frequency from mobile phones and other sources


Global Health Institute Barcelona (IS Global), Barcelone (E. Cardis)

UMRESTTE, UMRT 9405, Lyon (M. Hours)

ARECEA (Association pour la Recherche Epidémiologique dans les Cancers de l’Enfant et l’Adolescent)

Registre National des Tumeurs Solides de l’Enfant (RNTSE, B. Lacour)


Commission Européenne (7th Framework Programme)

Fondation Santé et Radiofréquences (Appel à Projets 2008)

Fondation Pfizer (Appel à Projets 2011)

Agence Nationale de Sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’Environnement et du Travail (APREST 2013 « Radiofréquences »)

INCa (subvention hors appel à projets 2013)

Ligue nationale contre le cancer (Appel d’offres « Adolescents et cancer » 2013).

Statutory approval CNIL DR-2010-303 et DR-2012-490

Mobi-Kids is prospective international epidemiological case-control study, conducted in 14 countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Korea, New Zealand, and Spain.

The exposure to radiofrequency  generated by mobile phones is compared in two populations among young people aged 10 to 24 years:

- Cases, who have a confirmed diagnosis of primary brain tumours, whether malignant or benign

- Controls, who are selected from among young people who had surgery for acute appendicitis, and matched to cases on age, sex and department of residence.

In France, the study was conducted in 16 departments covering 7 regions: Alsace, Lorraine, Ile-de-France Petite-Couronne, Rhône-Isère, Hérault, Bouches-du-Rhône, and Gironde.

Cases were recruited from March 2011 to December 2014. Data were collected by a face-to-face interview, about information on socio-demographic factors, complete residential history, and exposure to other environmental factors, including mobile phone use. Data collection and interviewing cases and controls were performed until April 2015.

At the same time, data validation studies were conducted: accurate mapping of the brain tumours using a specific software (Gridmaster), validation of histological diagnoses on a sub-sample of cases (20%) and validation. Data reported by the cases and the controls on the duration of exposure to mobile phones were cross-checked with network operators.


At the international level, in March 2016, a total of 901 cases and 1922 controls were included. France ranks third among the participating countries with over 10% of all participants: 104 cases and 188 controls included. This represents a ratio of 1.8 controls per case, close to the expected 2 controls per case.

International analyses are ongoing, taking into account the results of validation studies and non-responding questionnaires.

Two types of analysis are carried out: analyses on the association between brain tumours and mobile phone use characteristics (duration of use in years, length of calls, and number of calls), and analyses according to the exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields (EMF) and radiofrequency (RF) at the location of the tumour.

Specific work has been performed to estimate the exposure, taking account of the technical factors related to the phone itself, to the communication system used, and  to how the phone is used. Algorithms have been developed to evaluate the SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) at the tumour location for radiofrequencies and for ELF electromagnetic fields. An algorithm to estimate exposure due to devices in the general environment has also been developed.

Full results will be disseminated after international publications.

Some descriptive data are available :PopulationAt the international level, 901 cases and 1922 controls were included: 103 cases and 188 controls in the French study. Cases were aged 16.3 years on average, and control 16.0 years in France, which is very similar to those in the international study (16.5 and 16.6 years respectively). 

Tumour cases

The distribution by tumour site shows a slightly higher frequency of cerebellar and brain stem tumours in France (25.6% and 12.0, % versus 21.3% and 8.7% respectively for all countries), with a higher proportion of median tumours (34% vs. 23%). There is a very slight predominance of tumours on the left side in the French study as well as for all cases.


The vast majority of young people are regular users of the mobile phone: 85.5% in France, and 84.2% for all countries.

The average number of calls made per day was 1.6 at the beginning of mobile use, and is 3.7 for the most recent use. The daily communication time increases from 5.4 minutes per day at the beginning of mobile use, to 17.7 minutes per day for the recent data. However, it still necessary to adjust these indicators of mobile phone use in the analyses, because validation studies such as Mobi-Expo showed that users tend to underestimate the number of calls but to overestimate their duration.

WIFI is another source of exposure to RF, mostly at home (91% of cases), more rarely at school (25%) or in other places (17%).

Exposures to other low-frequency electromagnetic fields include the cell phone charger (45%), hairdryer or hair straightener (42%), radio alarm clock (31%), induction cooker (17%), TV (16%) and more rarely, the cordless-phone dock (7%).


Dedicated website: :

Lacour B, Delmas D, pour l’équipe Mobi-Kids France. Etude MOBI-KIDS « Technologies de communication, Environnement et Tumeurs Cérébrales chez les jeunes ». Profession Cancérologue, 2010, 21(1) :26.

Rémen T, Delmas D, Hours M, Lacour B. Etude MOBI-KIDS : Technologies de communication, expositions environnementales et tumeurs cérébrales chez les jeunes [MOBI-KIDS study : Communication technology, environment and brain tumours in young people]. Revue d'Oncologie Hématologie Pédiatrique, 2014, 2 :4-29.

Sadetzki S, Eastman Langer C, Bruchim R, Kundi M, Merletti F, Vermeulen R, Kromhout H, Lee AK, Maslanyj M, Sim M, Taki M, Wiart J, Armstrong B, Milne E, Benke G, Schattner R, Hutter HP, Woehrer A, Krewski D, Mohipp C, Momoli F, Ritvo P, Spinelli J, Lacour B, Delmas D, Remen T, Radon K, Weinmann T, Klostermann S, Heinrich S, Petridou E, Bouka E, Panagopoulou P, Dikshit R, Nagrani R, Even-Nir H, Chetrit A, Maule M, Migliore E, Filippini G, Miligi L, Mattioli S, Yamaguchi N, Kojimahara N, Ha M, Choi KH, Mannetje A, Eng A, Woodward A, Carretero G, Alguacil J, Aragones N, Morales Suare-Varela M, Goedhart G, Schouten-van Meeteren AY, Reedijk AM, Cardis E. The MOBI-Kids study protocol: Challenges in assessing childhood and adolescent exposure to electromagnetic fields from wireless telecommunication technologies and possible association with brain tumor risk. Front Public Health, 2014, 2 : article 124.

Calderon C, Ichikawa H, Taki M, Wake K, Addison D, Mee T, Maslanyj M, Kromhout H, Lee AK, Sim MR, Wiart J, Cardis E. ELF exposure from mobile and cordless phones for the epidemiological MOBI-Kids study. Environ Int. 2017 Apr;101:59-69. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2017.01.005.

Turner MC, Gracia-Lavedan E, Momoli F, Langer CE, Castano-Vinyals G,  Kundi M, Maule M, Merletti F, Sadetzki S, Vermeulen R, Albert A, Alguacil J, Aragones N, Badia F, Bruhim R, Carretero G, Kojimahara N, Lacour B, Morales-Suarez-Varela M, Radon K, Remen T, Weinmann T, Yamaguchi N, Cardis E. Nonparticipation Selection Bias in the MOBI-KIDS Study. Epidemiology, 2019 Jan; 30(1): 145–153.


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