Narrow Band Imaging, Magnifying Chromoendoscopy, and Gross Morphological Features for the Optical Diagnosis of T1 Colorectal Cancer and Deep Submucosal Invasion: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Am J Gastroenterol. 2017 Jan;112(1):54-64. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2016.403. Epub 2016 Sep 20.


Objectives: Optical diagnosis of T1 colorectal cancer (CRC) and T1 CRC with deep submucosal invasion is important in guiding the treatment strategy. The use of advanced imaging is not standard clinical practice in Western countries. A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted comparing the accuracy of narrow band imaging (NBI), magnifying chromoendoscopy (MCE), and gross morphological features (GMF) seen with conventional view for the optical diagnosis of T1 CRC and deep submucosal invasion.

Methods: A literature search identified studies on the optical diagnosis of T1 CRC and deep invasion using NBI, MCE, or GMF. Pooled estimates (PE) of sensitivity and specificity across studies reporting on NBI or MCE were compared using a random effects bivariate meta-regression approach, and a paired analysis focusing on studies that performed both techniques within the same patient was performed.

Results: Thirty-three studies with 31,568 polyps were included. For the optical diagnosis of T1 CRC, both NBI (4 studies; PE 0.85, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.75-0.91) and MCE (5 studies; PE 0.90, 95% CI 0.83-0.94) yielded higher sensitivity as compared with GMF (3 studies; range 0.21-0.46). No significant preference for NBI or MCE was found (sensitivity relative risk (RR) 0.93, 95% CI 0.79-1.09, P=0.37; specificity RR 0.98, 95% CI 0.86-1.11, P=0.74). Similarly, for the optical diagnosis of deep invasion, both NBI (13 studies; PE 0.77, 95% CI 0.68-0.84) and MCE (17 studies; PE 0.81, 95% 0.75-0.87) yielded higher sensitivity as compared with GMF (6 studies; range 0.18-0.88), and no significant preference for either NBI or MCE was found (sensitivity RR 0.92, 95% CI 0.76-1.11, P=0.36; specificity RR 1.00, 95% CI 0.96-1.04, P=0.92).

Conclusions: This review supports the use of advanced imaging techniques in preference to GMF to reduce the risk of performing piecemeal resection for T1 CRCs or unnecessary surgical referral for lesions amendable to endoscopic resection. A preference for either NBI or MCE could not be observed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Colonic Polyps / diagnostic imaging*
  • Colonic Polyps / pathology
  • Colonoscopy
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Coloring Agents
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / diagnostic imaging*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / pathology
  • Narrow Band Imaging
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Optical Imaging
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Coloring Agents