Malignant transformation of a dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor after radiation and chemotherapy

Ann Diagn Pathol. 2003 Aug;7(4):240-4. doi: 10.1016/s1092-9134(03)00070-4.


We describe a case of anaplastic astrocytoma in a 14-year-old boy arising at the site of a dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor (DNT) 3 years after combined radiation and chemotherapy. The subtotally excised superficial right temporoparietal tumor was originally diagnosed as mixed oligoastrocytoma in 1974; the patient was treated with radiation therapy postoperatively. One year later he underwent a craniotomy to remove cyst fluid and no change was reported in the size of the residual tumor. Postoperatively, he received a 6-week course of chemotherapy (lovustine, CCNU). He remained clinically and radiographically stable until 3 years later, when seizure activity returned and imaging studies were consistent with tumor recurrence. He was lost to follow-up until 1986, when records showed that he had died. Review of the initial biopsy showed cortical fragments containing abundant calcifications and multinodular structures typical of the complex form of DNT, in addition to specific glioneuronal elements. The Ki-67 labeling index ranged from 0.1% to 3% focally. The specimen from the third surgery showed an anaplastic astrocytoma (Ki-67 up to 12%) and morphologic features characteristic of radiation effect. This is the first documented case of malignant transformation of DNT following radiation and adjuvant chemotherapy. The implications of malignant transformation in subtotally excised complex DNTs and the intriguing issue of the contribution of radiation/chemotherapy are discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / therapeutic use
  • Astrocytoma / pathology*
  • Astrocytoma / therapy
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / therapy
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Craniotomy
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ki-67 Antigen / metabolism
  • Lomustine / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Neoplasms, Neuroepithelial / metabolism
  • Neoplasms, Neuroepithelial / pathology*
  • Neoplasms, Neuroepithelial / therapy
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / pathology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Lomustine