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Emerging optical methods for surveillance of Barrett's oesophagus
  1. Matthew B Sturm1,2,
  2. Thomas D Wang1,3,4
  1. 1Division of Gastroenterology Departments of Medicine, Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  2. 2Department of Internal Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan, USA
  3. 3Departments of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  4. 4Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Thomas D Wang, Department of Medicine, Biomedical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan, Division of Gastroenterology, 109 Zina Pitcher Pl. BSRB 1522, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2200, USA; thomaswa{at}


The rapid rise in incidence of oesophageal adenocarcinoma has motivated the need for improved methods for surveillance of Barrett's oesophagus. Early neoplasia is flat in morphology and patchy in distribution and is difficult to detect with conventional white light endoscopy (WLE). Light offers numerous advantages for rapidly visualising the oesophagus, and advanced optical methods are being developed for wide-field and cross-sectional imaging to guide tissue biopsy and stage early neoplasia, respectively. We review key features of these promising methods and address their potential to improve detection of Barrett's neoplasia. The clinical performance of key advanced imaging technologies is reviewed, including (1) wide-field methods, such as high-definition WLE, chromoendoscopy, narrow-band imaging, autofluorescence and trimodal imaging and (2) cross-sectional techniques, such as optical coherence tomography, optical frequency domain imaging and confocal laser endomicroscopy. Some of these instruments are being adapted for molecular imaging to detect specific biological targets that are overexpressed in Barrett's neoplasia. Gene expression profiles are being used to identify early targets that appear before morphological changes can be visualised with white light. These targets are detected in vivo using exogenous probes, such as lectins, peptides, antibodies, affibodies and activatable enzymes that are labelled with fluorescence dyes to produce high contrast images. This emerging approach has potential to provide a ‘red flag’ to identify regions of premalignant mucosa, outline disease margins and guide therapy based on the underlying molecular mechanisms of cancer progression.


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