Primitive neuroectodermal tumors | Diagnosis & Treatment

How are primitive neuroectodermal tumors diagnosed?

Your child’s physician may order a number of different tests to best diagnose a tumor. In addition to a physical exam, medical history and neurological exam (which tests reflexes, muscle strength, eye and mouth movement, coordination and alertness), your child’s doctor may requests tests, including diagnostic imaging.

Since these tumors are known to spread via cerebrospinal fluid, there is a high chance that they will invade other tissues of the brain and spine, so it is essential that your child have an MRI of both the brain and spine.

After all necessary tests are complete, the best treatment options can be identified.

What are the treatment options for primitive neuroectodermal tumors?

Your child’s physician will determine a specific course of treatment based on several factors. Some therapies will treat the tumor while others are intended to address complications of the disease or side effects of the treatment. These treatments include neurosurgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy 

If your child has hydrocephalus another procedure called ETV (endoscopic third ventriculostomy), may be necessary. There have been reports of these tumors traveling through shunts into the peritoneal cavity; therefore, all efforts are made to avoid shunt placement in these children.

There can be side effects related to the tumor itself or its treatment. Knowing what these side effects are can help your care team prepare for and, in some cases, prevent these symptoms from occurring.