Deep Learning Localizes and Identifies Polyps in Real Time With 96% Accuracy in Screening Colonoscopy

Gastroenterology. 2018 Oct;155(4):1069-1078.e8. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2018.06.037. Epub 2018 Jun 18.


Background & aims: The benefit of colonoscopy for colorectal cancer prevention depends on the adenoma detection rate (ADR). The ADR should reflect the adenoma prevalence rate, which is estimated to be higher than 50% in the screening-age population. However, the ADR by colonoscopists varies from 7% to 53%. It is estimated that every 1% increase in ADR lowers the risk of interval colorectal cancers by 3%-6%. New strategies are needed to increase the ADR during colonoscopy. We tested the ability of computer-assisted image analysis using convolutional neural networks (CNNs; a deep learning model for image analysis) to improve polyp detection, a surrogate of ADR.

Methods: We designed and trained deep CNNs to detect polyps using a diverse and representative set of 8,641 hand-labeled images from screening colonoscopies collected from more than 2000 patients. We tested the models on 20 colonoscopy videos with a total duration of 5 hours. Expert colonoscopists were asked to identify all polyps in 9 de-identified colonoscopy videos, which were selected from archived video studies, with or without benefit of the CNN overlay. Their findings were compared with those of the CNN using CNN-assisted expert review as the reference.

Results: When tested on manually labeled images, the CNN identified polyps with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.991 and an accuracy of 96.4%. In the analysis of colonoscopy videos in which 28 polyps were removed, 4 expert reviewers identified 8 additional polyps without CNN assistance that had not been removed and identified an additional 17 polyps with CNN assistance (45 in total). All polyps removed and identified by expert review were detected by the CNN. The CNN had a false-positive rate of 7%.

Conclusion: In a set of 8,641 colonoscopy images containing 4,088 unique polyps, the CNN identified polyps with a cross-validation accuracy of 96.4% and an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.991. The CNN system detected and localized polyps well within real-time constraints using an ordinary desktop machine with a contemporary graphics processing unit. This system could increase the ADR and decrease interval colorectal cancers but requires validation in large multicenter trials.

Keywords: Adenoma Detection Rate Improving Technology; Colorectal Cancer Prevention; Convolutional Neural Networks; Machine Learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Adenomatous Polyps / pathology*
  • Area Under Curve
  • Colonic Polyps / pathology*
  • Colonoscopy / methods*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Machine Learning*
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Observer Variation
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Video Recording