Allergy and brain tumors in the INTERPHONE study: Pooled results from Australia, Canada, France, Israel, and New Zealand

Michelle C. Turner, Daniel Krewski*, Bruce K. Armstrong, Angela Chetrit, Graham G. Giles, Martine Hours, Mary L. McBride, Marie Élise Parent, Siegal Sadetzki, Jack Siemiatycki, Alistair Woodward, Elisabeth Cardis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Purpose A history of allergy has been inversely associated with several types of cancer although the evidence is not entirely consistent. We examined the association between allergy history and risk of glioma, meningioma, acoustic neuroma, and parotid gland tumors using data on a large number of cases and controls from five INTERPHONE study countries (Australia, Canada, France, Israel, New Zealand), to better understand potential sources of bias in brain tumor case-control studies and to examine associations between allergy and tumor sites where few studies exist. Methods A total of 793 glioma, 832 meningioma, 394 acoustic neuroma, and 84 parotid gland tumor cases were analyzed with 2,520 controls recruited during 2000-2004. Conditional logistic regression models were used to obtain odds ratios (ORs) and 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) for associations between self-reported allergy and tumor risk. Results A significant inverse association was observed between a history of any allergy and glioma (OR = 0.73, 95 % CI 0.60-0.88), meningioma (OR = 0.77, 95 % CI 0.63-0.93), and acoustic neuroma (OR = 0.64, 95 % CI 0.49-0.83). Inverse associations were also observed with specific allergic conditions. However, inverse associations with asthma and hay fever strengthened with increasing age of allergy onset and weakened with longer time since onset. No overall association was observed for parotid gland tumors (OR = 1.21, 95 % CI 0.73-2.02). Conclusions While allergy history might influence glioma, meningioma, and acoustic neuroma risk, the observed associations could be due to information or selection bias or reverse causality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)949-960
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association
European Fifth Framework Program
Hawkes Bay Medical Research Foundation
Quality of Life and Management of Living ResourcesQLK4-CT-1999901563
Association pour la Recherche sur le Cancer
Bouygues Telecom
Canadian Institutes of Health ResearchMOP-42525
Australian Research Council5142
National Health and Medical Research Council
Health Research Council of New Zealand
Cancer Society of New Zealand
University of Sydney
Canada Research Chairs
Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation Programme219129
Société Française de Radiologie


    • Acoustic neuroma
    • Asthma
    • Eczema
    • Glioma
    • Hay fever
    • Meningioma


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