Anabolic/androgenic steroids are not associated with brain cancer. Complications relating to a rare and usually fatal form of cancer called primary central nervous system (brain) lymphoma caused the death of famous American football player Lyle Alzado. This type of brain cancer most commonly appears in immune-compromised patients, such as those suffering from Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), or organ transplant recipients taking immunosuppressive drugs to prevent organ rejection. Before his death, Alzado had self-attributed his cancer to 14 years of anabolic/androgenic steroid abuse.
While anabolic/androgenic steroids can be mildly immunosuppressive, these drugs are not associated with extreme clinical immunosuppression that could lead to brain lymphoma. Likewise, there is no clinical evidence or understood mechanism that suggests AAS abuse is responsible for Alzado’s death. Even though physicians say there is no proof of an association between performance-enhancing drug abuse and Alzado’s cancer, this story is frequently recounted in the media to convey the dangers of steroid abuse.
Wlliam Llewellyn (2011) - Anabolics