Does cell phone use increase the chances of parotid gland tumor development? A systematic review and meta‐analysis

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Little is known about cell phone use damages to human health, and this potential damage has been addressed by some studies. In 2012, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) included radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans, pertaining to the group 2B 1.
During classic cell phone usage, the most affected regions are the ear, the parotid glands, and the brain region, indirectly. Some studies have been carried out to test an epidemiological link between the development of tumors from these regions and cell phone use. There is no consensus on the association between the use of cell phones and parotid or other tumor types, as results are conflicting 2.
Salivary gland tumors are relatively rare, accounting for 2–5% of all head and neck tumors, being the parotids the most affected salivary gland 6. Some epidemiological studies have examined the association between cell phone use and the development of tumors in the parotid glands. However, there is no definitive answer to the question of whether cell phone use is associated with increased risk of tumors in the parotid glands or not 2.
Molecular studies in healthy patients may show early alterations in tissue homeostasis associated with cell phone use. In order to try to identify early molecular alterations in the homeostasis of normal parotid glands, our group has assessed the levels of proteins related to cellular stress (p53, p21, reactive oxygen species, reduced glutathione, HSP70, HSP27, and IgA) comparing the levels between both parotids according to self‐reported exposure to cell phone 7. We found no difference in cellular stress markers between the two sides studied. We further evaluated the levels of inflammatory cytokines in the saliva produced by the parotids according to self‐reported exposure to cell phone, reporting an increase in pro‐inflammatory and a decrease of anti‐inflammatory cytokine levels in the sample evaluated, suggesting a pro‐inflammatory effect of cell phones 8.
Due to the fact that the available data are limited and conflicting regarding the association between cell phone use and increased risk of parotid gland neoplasms, our objective was to determine whether individuals who use cell phone have increased odds of developing parotid gland tumors.
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