'Virtual Biopsy' Colonoscopy Promising

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., March 27 (UPI) — A “virtual biopsy” colonoscopy might soon be able to determine whether a colon polyp is benign without a biopsy, U.S. researchers said.

Dr. Michael Wallace of the Mayo Clinic, in Florida, said currently, colon polyps are extracted during a colonoscopy and sent to a pathologist for examination, which adds time, expense, and some surgical risk, to the procedure.


In the March issue of Gastroenterology, the researchers report that the most advanced of these two devices, the probe-based Confocal Laser Endomicroscopy, is much more accurate than virtual chromoendoscopy, also known as narrow-band imaging. The pCLE — an imaging tool only one-sixteenth of an inch in diameter — can magnify a polyp by a factor of 1,000.

The study found that pCLE was 91 percent accurate in detecting precancerous polyps and narrow-band imaging was 77 percent accurate, when compared to biopsy findings.

“We are getting closer to where we want to be, which is 100 percent accurate,” Wallace said in a statement. “Some day soon we will be able to use these probes to virtually biopsy a polyp, removing only those that could become cancerous.”

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