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What is dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor?

A dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor (DNET) is a low-grade, slow-growing brain tumor. It is a glioneuronal tumor, which means it contains properties of both glial and neuronal cells. Glial cells are responsible for providing the structural support of the central nervous system, while neuronal cells are the functioning component of the central nervous system. DNET often causes seizures that don’t respond to medication, occurs in the tissues that cover the brain and spinal cord and usually begins in children and teenagers who are 20 years old or younger.

What are the symptoms of DNET?

DNETs are found in the cerebrum, which is the part of the brain that controls thought, movement and sensation, so your child may experience symptoms that relate to those functions. 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. It is not uncommon for children to have their first seizure before age 10, and continue to experience them for several years before the diagnosis is made.

How we care for DNET

Children with DNETs are treated through our Brain Tumor Center at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders 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 dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor (DNET).

DNET | Diagnosis & Treatments

How are dysembryoplastic neuropithelial tumors diagnosed?

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

What are the treatment options for DNETs?

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.

DNET | Programs & Services