Prospective development and validation of a volumetric laser endomicroscopy computer algorithm for detection of Barrett's neoplasia

Gastrointest Endosc. 2021 Apr;93(4):871-879. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2020.07.052. Epub 2020 Jul 29.


Background and aims: Volumetric laser endomicroscopy (VLE) is an advanced imaging modality used to detect Barrett's esophagus (BE) dysplasia. However, real-time interpretation of VLE scans is complex and time-consuming. Computer-aided detection (CAD) may help in the process of VLE image interpretation. Our aim was to train and validate a CAD algorithm for VLE-based detection of BE neoplasia.

Methods: The multicenter, VLE PREDICT study, prospectively enrolled 47 patients with BE. In total, 229 nondysplastic BE and 89 neoplastic (high-grade dysplasia/esophageal adenocarcinoma) targets were laser marked under VLE guidance and subsequently underwent a biopsy for histologic diagnosis. Deep convolutional neural networks were used to construct a CAD algorithm for differentiation between nondysplastic and neoplastic BE tissue. The CAD algorithm was trained on a set consisting of the first 22 patients (134 nondysplastic BE and 38 neoplastic targets) and validated on a separate test set from patients 23 to 47 (95 nondysplastic BE and 51 neoplastic targets). The performance of the algorithm was benchmarked against the performance of 10 VLE experts.

Results: Using the training set to construct the algorithm resulted in an accuracy of 92%, sensitivity of 95%, and specificity of 92%. When performance was assessed on the test set, accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity were 85%, 91%, and 82%, respectively. The algorithm outperformed all 10 VLE experts, who demonstrated an overall accuracy of 77%, sensitivity of 70%, and specificity of 81%.

Conclusions: We developed, validated, and benchmarked a VLE CAD algorithm for detection of BE neoplasia using prospectively collected and biopsy-correlated VLE targets. The algorithm detected neoplasia with high accuracy and outperformed 10 VLE experts. (The Netherlands National Trials Registry (NTR) number: NTR 6728.).

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Barrett Esophagus* / diagnostic imaging
  • Computers
  • Esophageal Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Esophagoscopy
  • Humans
  • Lasers
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Netherlands
  • Prospective Studies