Aim: To determine specific volumetric laser endomicroscopy (VLE) imaging features associated with neoplasia at the gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) and gastric cardia.
Methods: During esophagogastroduodenoscopy for patients with known or suspected Barrett's esophagus, VLE was performed before biopsies were taken at endoscopists' discretion. The gastric cardia was examined on VLE scan from the GEJ (marked by top of gastric folds) to 1 cm distal from the GEJ. The NinePoints VLE console was used to analyze scan segments for characteristics previously found to correlate with normal or abnormal mucosa. Glands were counted individually. Imaging features identified on VLE scan were correlated with biopsy results from the GEJ and cardia region.
Results: This study included 34 cases. Features characteristic of the gastric cardia (gastric rugae, gastric pit architecture, poor penetration) were observed in all (100%) scans. Loss of classic gastric pit architecture was common and there was no difference between those with neoplasia and without (100% vs 74%, P = NS). The abnormal VLE feature of irregular surface was more often seen in patients with neoplasia than those without (100% vs 18%, P < 0.0001), as was heterogeneous scattering (86% vs 41%, P < 0.005) and presence of anomalous glands (100% vs 59%, P < 0.05). The number of anomalous glands did not differ between individual histologic subgroups (ANOVA, P = NS).
Conclusion: The transition from esophagus to gastric cardia is reliably identified on VLE. Histologically abnormal cardia mucosa produces abnormal VLE features. Optical coherence tomography algorithms can be expanded for use at the GEJ/cardia.
Keywords: Barrett’s; Cardia; Gastroesophageal junction; Neoplasia; Optical coherence tomography; Volumetric laser endomicroscopy.