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Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumors Diagnosis

As part of one of the nation’s largest cancer centers, MD Anderson’s Children’s Cancer Hospital has more experience with DSRCT than most other hospitals. We have the latest, most accurate technology to diagnose DSRCT, and our physicians are highly specialized.

Since desmoplastic small round cell tumors are rare, few pediatricians or family physicians are familiar with the disease. Even many oncologists (cancer doctors) have never treated a case of DSRCT.

An early and accurate diagnosis greatly increases the chances for successful treatment. But, DSRCT is often misdiagnosed as other types of abdominal tumors until it has spread to other areas of the body.

Diagnostic tests

If your child has symptoms that may signal DSRCT, the doctor will examine your child and ask you questions about your child’s health and your family medical history.

One or more of the following diagnostic tests may be used to find out if your child has DSRCT and if it has spread. These tests also may be used to find out if treatment is working.

Imaging tests, which may include:

  • CT or CAT (computed axial tomography) scans
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans
  • PET (positron emission tomography) scans
  • Ultrasound


A biopsy is almost always needed to diagnose DSRCT. This involves removing a small amount of cells from the tumor or fluid in the abdomen and looking at them with a microscope. One of these methods is usually used:

  • Fine needle aspiration (FNA): A thin needle is inserted into the tumor to remove a small amount of tissue or fluid.
  • Core biopsy: This is similar to FNA, but a thicker needle is used to remove small cylinder-shaped samples (cores).
  • Surgical biopsy: Tissue is removed during an operation.

Getting a second opinion at Children’s Cancer Hospital

Desmoplastic small round cell tumors can be difficult to diagnose. The pathologists at Children’s Cancer Hospital are highly specialized in diagnosing complex cancers, including DSRCT. We welcome the opportunity to provide second opinions for DSRCT.

If you would like to get a second opinion at Children’s Cancer Hospital, call 877-632-6789 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.

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Knowledge Center

Find the latest news and information about DSRCT in our Knowledge Center, including blog posts, articles, videos, news releases and more.