After leukaemia, brain tumours are the second most common cancer type in young people under 20 years of age. Little is known about what increases the risk of brain tumours. Risk factors include exposure to ionizing radiation, family history of brain tumours, and some rare medical conditions. Exposure to chemicals and to electromagnetic fields may also be associated with the risk of brain tumours, although this is still uncertain. Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the use of communication technologies, particularly among young people, and there is growing concern about their potential health effects.
An important limitation of the studies of brain tumours in young people to date has been the limited number of children and adolescents included. Although the frequency of brain tumours has tended to increase in young people over recent decades, it is fortunately still a rare disease. Therefore, international studies are needed to better understand the effects of environmental factors on the risk of this disease.
What is being done
Over a period of five years, nearly 2.000 young people aged 10 to 24 years with brain tumours and about 4.000 healthy persons will be invited to participate in the study.
Participants will be asked information (by questionnaire) about personal risk factors (such as age and gender), residential history, history of environmental exposures, use of communication technologies and personal and family health information.
Validation studies will be conducted to evaluate the adequacy of questionnaire responses.
MOBI-KIDS is now underway in 13 countries. Case and control ascertainment is expected to finish in late 2014. Results will be available in 2015/2016.
Financial support for the study is provided by the European Union (grant agreement FP7-ENV-2008-226873) and local and national funding sources.