• Dysembryplastic Neuroepithelial Tumor (DNET)

    A dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor (DNET or DNT) is a benign (non-cancerous), slow-growing brain tumor. It is a glioneuronal tumor, which means it contains properties of both glial cells (responsible for providing the structural support of the central nervous system) and neuronal cells (the functioning component of the central nervous system).

    • DNET often causes seizures that don’t respond to medication.
    • DNET occurs in the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord.
    • The outlook for a child with DNET is generally good.
    • A DNET usually begins in children and teenagers who are 20 years old or younger.

    Dysembryoplastic Neuroepithelial Tumor (DNET) Treatment at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's

    Children with dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumors (DNETs) are treated at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center through the Brain Tumor Center, a world-renowned destination for children with malignant and non-malignant brain and spinal cord tumors. Our brain tumor specialists have extensive expertise in treating all types of glial and neural tumors, including DNETs. Our patients receive care from neuro-oncologists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, and pediatric subspecialists.

    What are dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor (DNET) symptoms?

    While each child may experience symptoms differently, and symptoms may vary depending on the size and exact location of the tumor, the most common symptom for DNET is the presence of seizures that are difficult to control with anti-seizure medication. In fact, it’s not uncommon for children to have their first seizure before age 10 and then continue to experience them for several years before the diagnosis is made.

    DNET tumors are found in the cerebrum, which is the part of the brain that controls thought, movement and sensation, so your child may experience other symptoms that relate to those functions.

    How are dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumors (DNETs) diagnosed?

    If your child’s doctor suspects your child may have a dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor, she may order diagnostic tests including:

    • neurological exam – a test of your child’s reflexes, muscle strength, eye and mouth movement, coordination and alertness
    • computerized tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan) – This is a diagnostic procedure that uses x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), of the brain and spinal cord. A CT scan will identify low-density dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumors.
    • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – This is a procedure that uses large magnets, radiofrequencies and a computer to produce detailed images of your child’s organs and other bodily structures. It can help confirm the presence of a DNET and distinguish it from other types of tumors.
    • immunohistochemical and ultrastructural studies – lab-based studies that can confirm the origin of DNET and help your child’s doctor determine the best treatment

    What are DNET treatment options?

    The most common DNET treatment is to remove the tumor surgically. Because it is a benign tumor, and prognosis is good even if not the entire tumor is not removed, radiation and chemotherapy are not used.

    What’s the long-term outlook for a child with DNET?

    The outlook for dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumors (DNET) is uniformly good, regardless of how much of the tumor is removed.