Fluorescence guided intraluminal endoscopy in the gastrointestinal tract: A systematic review

World J Gastrointest Endosc. 2020 Oct 16;12(10):388-400. doi: 10.4253/wjge.v12.i10.388.


Background: Conventional endoscopy is based on full spectrum white light. However, different studies have investigated the use of fluorescence based endoscopy systems where the white light has been supplemented by infrared light and the use of relevant fluorophores. Fluorescence endoscopy utilizes the fluorescence emitted from a fluorophore, visualizing what is not visible to the naked eye.

Aim: To explore the feasibility of fluorescence endoscopy and evaluate its use in diagnosing and evaluating gastrointestinal disease.

Methods: We followed the PRISMA guidelines for this systematic review. The research covered five databases; PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, Embase, and the Cochrane Collection, including only studies in English and Scandinavian languages. Authors screened title and abstract for inclusion, subsequently full-text for inclusion according to eligibility criteria listed in the protocol. The risk of bias was assessed for all studies according to the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. The authors extracted the data and reported the results in both text and tables.

Results: We included seven studies in the systematic review after screening a total of 2769 papers. The most prominent fluorophore was indocyanine green (n = 6), and whereas one study (n = 1) used Bevacizumab 800-CW. Three studies investigated fluorescence endoscopy in detecting varices, adenomas in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis and neoplasms in the gastrointestinal tract. Four studies evaluated the usefulness of fluorescence endoscopy in assessing tumor invasion. Three of the four studies reported an exceptional diagnostic accuracy (93%, 89% and 88%) in assessing tumor invasion, thus representing better visualization and more correct diagnosis by fluorescence endoscopy compared with the conventional endoscopy. The relationship between the endoscopic findings, tumor invasion, and tumor vascularity was evaluated in two studies showing a significant correlation (d P < 0.05 and b P < 0.01).

Conclusion: The use of fluorescence endoscopy is a promising method adding diagnostic value in the detection of neoplasia, adenomas, and assessment of tumor invasion within the gastrointestinal tract. More studies are needed to utilize the feasibility of fluorescence endoscopy compared with other endoscopic methods.

Keywords: Fluorescence endoscopy; Fluorophore; Gastrointestinal diseases; Gastrointestinal tract; Gastroscopy; Indocyanine green; Infrared light.