Dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor: a surgically curable tumor of young patients with intractable partial seizures. Report of thirty-nine cases

Neurosurgery. 1988 Nov;23(5):545-56. doi: 10.1227/00006123-198811000-00002.


This report concerns the clinicopathological features of 39 cases of a morphologically unique and surgically curable group of neuroepithelial tumors associated with medically intractable partial complex seizures. All were supratentorial and characterized by intracortical location, multinodular architecture, and heterogeneity in cellular composition. The constituent cells included astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and neurons. Because neuronal atypia was often inapparent, the tumors superficially resembled mixed oligoastrocytomas. The term "dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor" (DNT) is proposed for these distinctive lesions, the clinicopathological features of which suggest a dysembryoplastic origin. With the exception of the occurrence of headaches in 2 patients, partial complex seizures were the exclusive symptom. Age at onset of symptoms ranged from 1 to 19 years (mean 9 years). In addition to the chronic nature of the seizures (range, 2 to 18 years; mean, 9 years), one-third of the patients showed radiological features, such as focal cranial deformity, indicating that the tumors had an early onset and were of long standing. In most cases, computed tomography showed a "pseudocystic," well-demarcated, low density appearance associated in some cases with focal contrast enhancement (18%) or calcific hyperdensity (23%). The tumor involved the temporal lobe in 24 patients (62%), the frontal lobe in 12 (31%), and the parietal and/or occipital lobe in 3 cases. Although tumor removal was considered incomplete or subtotal in 17 patients (44%), long term follow-up (range, 1 to 18 years; mean, 9 years) showed neither clinical nor radiological evidence of recurrence in any patient. Comparison of the survival data of the 13 subjects who had undergone postoperative radiotherapy with 26 who had not indicated that radiation therapy was of no obvious benefit. The identification of DNT has therapeutic and prognostic implications because aggressive therapy can be avoided, thus sparing these young patients the deleterious long term effects of radio- or chemotherapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Brain Neoplasms / complications*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epilepsies, Partial / etiology*
  • Epilepsies, Partial / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive, Peripheral / complications*
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive, Peripheral / pathology
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive, Peripheral / surgery
  • Teratoma / complications*
  • Teratoma / pathology
  • Teratoma / surgery
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed