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New Technology Speeds GI Disease Diagnosis
Date:5/18/2008

do a mucosal biopsy. But with CLE, we can see what's going on at the time of the endoscopy and then diagnose and treat patients immediately, instead of waiting a week or more."

In another study, Dunbar and colleagues concluded that CLE was as effective as a biopsy in identifying precancerous cells in people with Barrett's esophagus, a condition that can often lead to esophageal cancer.

These findings suggest that use of CLE could reduce the number of biopsies of abnormal tissue, because doctors would be able to immediately detect the presence of precancerous cells. Patients with Barrett's esophagus can require several tissue biopsies, which are expensive, invasive and can cause bleeding, the researchers said.

The results suggest that CLE "improves diagnosis of Barrett's esophagus, and offers great promise for reducing the number of biopsies needed to look for dysplasia in the esophagus," Dunbar said.

A third study found that CLE is highly accurate in immediately distinguishing benign from precancerous polyps of the colon. Using CLE, researchers from the Mayo Clinic, in Jacksonville, Fla., were 89 percent accurate in determining the sensitivity and specificity of colon polyps. They were able to identify small benign polyps 98 percent of the time. Normally, these polyps would be removed.

"This technique will fundamentally change how the two fields (endoscopy and pathology) interact," study author Dr. Anna M. Buchner said in a prepared statement. "This procedure allows us to become endopathologists, and the result is that we will be able to better manage patients with gastrointestinal disorders."

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about digestive diseases.



-- Robert Preidt

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