Experienced versus inexperienced confocal endoscopists in the diagnosis of gastric adenocarcinoma and intestinal metaplasia on confocal images

Gastrointest Endosc. 2011 Jun;73(6):1141-7. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2011.01.068. Epub 2011 Apr 14.


Background: Confocal laser endomicroscopy (CLE) may be used to diagnose gastric cancer and intestinal metaplasia, but the impact of CLE experience on the accuracy of confocal diagnosis of gastric cancer and intestinal metaplasia is not clear.

Objective: To establish the sensitivity, specificity, and intragroup interobserver agreement of CLE image interpretation by 3 experienced (group 1) and 3 inexperienced (group 2) CLE endoscopists for diagnosing gastric intestinal metaplasia (GIM) and adenocarcinoma.

Design: Blinded review of CLE images for the diagnosis of gastric cancer or intestinal metaplasia.

Setting: Tertiary care hospital.

Patients: CLE images obtained ex vivo from gastrectomy specimens with proven gastric cancer and CLE images obtained in vivo from Chinese subjects older than 50 years of age by using matched biopsy specimens as reference standards.

Main outcome measurements: Sensitivity, specificity, and intragroup interobserver agreement of CLE image interpretation.

Results: Interpretation of in vivo images by group 1 was associated with higher sensitivity (95.2% vs 61.9%, P = .039) and higher specificity (93.3% vs 62.2%, P < .001) for GIM than interpretation by group 2. The agreement between interpretation by group 1 and histology for GIM was higher than that for group 2 (κ = 0.864 vs 0.217). The sensitivity (93.3% for group 1 vs 86.7% for group 2, P = 1.000) and specificity (87.7% for group 1 vs 80.7% for group 2, P = .344) of interpretation of ex vivo CLE images for the diagnosis of gastric adenocarcinoma was similar for groups 1 and 2.

Limitations: Single-center study.

Conclusions: Experience in CLE was associated with greater accuracy in the diagnosis of intestinal metaplasia.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Clinical Competence
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal*
  • Gastric Mucosa / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Metaplasia / pathology
  • Microscopy, Confocal*
  • Middle Aged
  • Observer Variation
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Stomach / pathology*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology*