Genetic damage in mammalian somatic cells exposed to radiofrequency radiation: A meta-analysis of data from 63 publications (1990-2005)

Vijayalaxmi, Thomas J. Prihoda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Scopus citations


During the last several decades, numerous researchers have examined the potential of in vitro and/or in vivo exposure of radiofrequency (RF) radiation to damage the genetic material in mammalian somatic cells. A meta-analysis of reported data was conducted to obtain a quantitative estimate (with 95% confidence intervals) of genotoxicity in RF-radiation-exposed cells compared with sham-exposed/unexposed control cells. The extent of genotoxicity was assessed for various end points, including single- and double-strand breaks in the DNA, incidence of chromosomal aberrations, micronuclei and sister chromatid exchanges. Among the several variables in the experimental protocols used in individual investigations, the influence of three specific variables related to RF-radiation exposure characteristics was examined in the meta-analysis: frequency, specific absorption rate, and exposure as continuous-wave, pulsed-wave and occupationally exposed/cell phone users. The overall data indicated that (1) the difference between RF-radiation-exposed and sham-/unexposed controls as well as the effect size or standardized mean difference due to RF-radiation exposure was small with very few exceptions; (2) at certain RF radiation exposure conditions, there were statistically significant increases in genotoxicity for some end points; and (3) the mean indices for chromosomal aberrations and micronuclei in RF-radiation-exposed and sham-/unexposed controls were within the spontaneous levels reported in the historical database. Considerable evidence for publication bias was found in the meta-analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-574
Number of pages14
JournalRadiation Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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