Protocol for a systematic review of the in vivo studies on radiofrequency (100 kHz–300 GHz) electromagnetic field exposure and cancer

Pinto, R., Ardoino, L., Giardullo, P. et al. Protocol for a systematic review of the in vivo studies on radiofrequency (100 kHz–300 GHz) electromagnetic field exposure and cancer. Syst Rev 11, 29 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-022-01898-4

Abstract

Background

An Italian project aims to review the scientific literature on the possible carcinogenicity of radiofrequency (100 kHz–300 GHz) electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) exposure. The ENEA team has to carry out a systematic review of the in vivo studies on this topic.

Objectives

Development of a protocol for a systematic review (meta-analysis included) to investigate the potential carcinogenic risk following RF-EMF in vivo exposure to doses above or within legal limits. The aims of this review are (1) to provide a descriptive and, if possible, a quantitative summary of the results of the examined RF-EMF in vivo studies, together with an assessment of the consistency of observations and of the causes of heterogeneity, and (2) to assess the weight of evidence to support or refute the hypothesis of carcinogenic effects caused by RF-EMF exposure and to draw conclusions about the potential for carcinogenicity of RF-EMF exposure.

Methods

We will search for relevant studies in electronic academic databases and in the reference list of selected papers and reviews on the topic, including the descriptive reviews on RF-EMF carcinogenic effect carried out by international panels of experts since 2011. The following elements of the PECO question were defined: experimental studies on rodents of both sexes, all ages and species, all genetic backgrounds (Population) exposed to RF-EMF alone, or in combination with other physical or chemical agents (Exposure); only studies reporting outcome data in exposed and sham control groups (Comparison); and all types of cancer with all tumor-related outcome measures (Outcome) will be included.

Only peer-reviewed articles written in English will be considered without limit in the publication date.

Eligibility criteria were defined for papers to be included. A risk of bias assessment will be performed using a tool specifically developed for animal studies. A meta-analysis will be performed, if feasible, for all outcome measures; for subgroup analysis, a minimum of 3 studies per subgroup will be required. If meta-analysis will not be possible, a narrative synthesis of the results will be reported.

Systematic review registration

PROSPERO CRD42020191105

Highlights

  • An Italian collaborative research agreement aims to review the scientific literature on the possible carcinogenicity of RF-EMF (100 kHz – 300 GHz).
  • The ENEA team will systematically review and, if possible, meta-analyse estimates the effects of in vivo exposure to RF-EMF exposure on cancer.
  • The ENEA group is a multidisciplinary team of researchers with a consolidated experience both in carcinogenicity experiments and radiofrequency dosimetric assessment.
  • The proposed protocol uses the NTP OHAT Approach for Systematic Review as an organizing framework.
  • The proposed protocol aims to lead to the first systematic review providing a strength of evidence assessment on this topic.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s13643-022-01898-4

PDF available at the link above.

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