Doctors who deal with sports medicine say there has never been a case in which steroids have caused a cancer like the brain lymphona that led to Lyle Alzado's death yesterday.
Dr. Brian Hainline, director of clinical neurology service and sportsneurology at Manhattan's Hospital for Joint Diseases, said yesterday, "The bottom line is that there are no data which would support the linkage between anabolic steroids and brain cancer, specifically primary brain lymphoma."
Hainline added, "We should always be open-minded that there could be a link, but there is a danger when you say that this is a cause and effect. There is a wide gulf between a drug which in minor ways can alter the immune system and then saying that is the cause."
Hainline said the tumor that Alzado had was once considered to be rare. But the number of cases has increased significantly in recent years, primarily because of the spread of AIDS, which can lead to lymphoma of the brain.