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BackgroundGiven concerns about risks associated with the growing use of mobile phones over recent decades, the authors analyzed temporal trends in incidence rates of nonmalignant meningioma and vestibular schwannoma in the United States.MethodsThe incidence of nonmalignant meningioma and vestibular schwannoma among adults in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results 18 registries during 2004 through 2017 was evaluated according to the method of diagnosis: microscopically (MC) or radiographically confirmed (RGC). Annual percent changes (APCs) and 95% CIs were estimated using log-linear models.ResultsOverall meningioma rates (n = 108,043) increased significantly from 2004 to 2009 (APC, 5.4%; 95% CI, 4.4%-6.4%) but subsequently rose at a slower pace through 2017 (APC, 1.0%; 95% CI, 0.6%-1.5%). Rates for MC meningiomas changed little from 2004 to 2017 (APC, -0.3%; 95% CI, -0.7%, 0.1%) but rose rapidly for RGC meningiomas until 2009 (APC, 9.5%; 95% CI, 7.8%-11.1%) and rose more modestly thereafter (APC, 2.3%; 95% CI, 1.5%-3.0%). Overall vestibular schwannoma rates (n = 17,475) were stable (APC, 0.4%; 95% CI, -0.2%, 1.0%), but MC vestibular schwannoma rates decreased (APC, -1.9%; 95% CI, -2.7%, -1.1%), whereas RGC vestibular schwannoma rates rose (2006-2017: APC, 1.7%; 95% CI, 0.5%-3.0%). For each tumor, the trends by diagnostic method were similar for each sex and each racial/ethnic group, but RGC diagnosis was more likely in older patients and for smaller tumors. Meningioma trends and the proportion of RGC diagnoses varied notably by registry.ConclusionsOverall trends obscured differences by diagnostic method in this first large, detailed assessment, but the recent stable rates argue against an association with mobile phone use. Variation among registries requires evaluation to improve the registration of these nonmalignant tumors.Lay summaryThe etiology of most benign meningiomas and vestibular schwannomas is poorly understood, but concerns have been raised about whether mobile phone use contributes to risk of developing these tumors. Descriptive studies examining temporal trends could provide insight; however, globally, few registries collect these nonmalignant cases. In the United States, reporting benign meningiomas and vestibular schwannomas became required by law in 2004. This was the first large, systematic study to quantify and characterize incidence trends for meningioma and vestibular schwannoma according to whether the tumors were diagnosed microscopically or only radiographically. Differential trends across registries and by diagnostic method suggest that caution should be used when interpreting the patterns.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





3579 - 3590


Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland.


Humans, Neuroma, Acoustic, Meningioma, Meningeal Neoplasms, Registries, Incidence, Adult, Aged, United States