Efficacy of Real-Time Computer-Aided Detection of Colorectal Neoplasia in a Randomized Trial

Gastroenterology. 2020 Aug;159(2):512-520.e7. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2020.04.062. Epub 2020 May 1.


Background & aims: One-fourth of colorectal neoplasias are missed during screening colonoscopies; these can develop into colorectal cancer (CRC). Deep learning systems allow for real-time computer-aided detection (CADe) of polyps with high accuracy. We performed a multicenter, randomized trial to assess the safety and efficacy of a CADe system in detection of colorectal neoplasias during real-time colonoscopy.

Methods: We analyzed data from 685 subjects (61.32 ± 10.2 years old; 337 men) undergoing screening colonoscopies for CRC, post-polypectomy surveillance, or workup due to positive results from a fecal immunochemical test or signs or symptoms of CRC, at 3 centers in Italy from September through November 2019. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to groups who underwent high-definition colonoscopies with the CADe system or without (controls). The CADe system included an artificial intelligence-based medical device (GI-Genius, Medtronic) trained to process colonoscopy images and superimpose them, in real time, on the endoscopy display a green box over suspected lesions. A minimum withdrawal time of 6 minutes was required. Lesions were collected and histopathology findings were used as the reference standard. The primary outcome was adenoma detection rate (ADR, the percentage of patients with at least 1 histologically proven adenoma or carcinoma). Secondary outcomes were adenomas detected per colonoscopy, non-neoplastic resection rate, and withdrawal time.

Results: The ADR was significantly higher in the CADe group (54.8%) than in the control group (40.4%) (relative risk [RR], 1.30; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14-1.45). Adenomas detected per colonoscopy were significantly higher in the CADe group (mean, 1.07 ±1.54) than in the control group (mean 0.71 ± 1.20) (incidence rate ratio, 1.46; 95% CI, 1.15-1.86). Adenomas 5 mm or smaller were detected in a significantly higher proportion of subjects in the CADe group (33.7%) than in the control group (26.5%; RR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.01-1.52), as were adenomas of 6 to 9 mm (detected in 10.6% of subjects in the CADe group vs 5.8% in the control group; RR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.09-2.86), regardless of morphology or location. There was no significant difference between groups in withdrawal time (417 ± 101 seconds for the CADe group vs 435 ± 149 for controls; P = .1) or proportion of subjects with resection of non-neoplastic lesions (26.0% in the CADe group vs 28.7% of controls; RR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.90-1.12).

Conclusions: In a multicenter, randomized trial, we found that including CADe in real-time colonoscopy significantly increases ADR and adenomas detected per colonoscopy without increasing withdrawal time. ClinicalTrials.gov no: 04079478.

Keywords: Adenoma Per Colonoscopy; Artificial Intelligence; Comparison; Early Detection.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / diagnosis*
  • Adenoma / epidemiology
  • Adenoma / pathology
  • Aged
  • Biopsy / statistics & numerical data
  • Colon / diagnostic imaging
  • Colon / pathology
  • Colonoscopy / instrumentation
  • Colonoscopy / methods*
  • Colonoscopy / statistics & numerical data
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Deep Learning*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / instrumentation
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / instrumentation
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Mass Screening / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors