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AI May Reduce Miss Rate of Precancerous Polyps During Colorectal Cancer Screening


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Artificial intelligence (AI) reduced the rate at which precancerous polyps were missed in colorectal cancer screening by twofold, reported a team of international researchers in a study published by Wallace et al in Gastroenterology.

Between February 2020 and May 2021, 230 study participants were randomly assigned 1:1 to undergo two back-to-back colonoscopies on the same day at eight hospitals and community clinics in the United States, United Kingdom, and Italy. One colonoscopy used AI; the other, a standard colonoscopy, did not.

The rate at which precancerous colorectal polyps is missed has been estimated to be 25%. In this study, the miss rate was 15.5% in the group that had the AI colonoscopy first. The miss rate was 32.4 % in the group that had standard colonoscopy first. The AI colonoscopy detected more polyps that were smaller, flatter, and in the proximal and distal colon.

In addition, false-negative rates were 6.8% in the group that had the AI colonoscopy first and 29.6% in the group that had standard colonoscopy first. 

"Colorectal cancer is almost entirely preventable with proper screening," said senior study author Michael B. Wallace, MD, Division Chair of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and the Fred C. Andersen Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. "Using artificial intelligence to detect colon polyps and potentially save lives is welcome and promising news for patients and their families."

The study authors concluded, “AI resulted in an approximately twofold reduction in miss rate of colorectal neoplasia, supporting AI benefit in reducing perceptual errors for small and subtle lesions at standard colonoscopy.”

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit gastrojournal.org.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.
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