Artificial intelligence in gastrointestinal endoscopy for inflammatory bowel disease: a systematic review and new horizons

Gian Eugenio Tontini, Alessandro Rimondi, Marta Vernero, Helmut Neumann, Maurizio Vecchi, Cristina Bezzio, Flaminia Cavallaro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Since the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) in clinical studies, luminal gastrointestinal endoscopy has made great progress, especially in the detection and characterization of neoplastic and preneoplastic lesions. Several studies have recently shown the potential of AI-driven endoscopy for the investigation of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This systematic review provides an overview of the current position and future potential of AI in IBD endoscopy. Methods: A systematic search was carried out in PubMed and Scopus up to 2 December 2020 using the following search terms: artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer-aided, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis (UC), Crohn’s disease (CD). All studies on human digestive endoscopy were included. A qualitative analysis and a narrative description were performed for each selected record according to the Joanna Briggs Institute methodologies and the PRISMA statement. Results: Of 398 identified records, 18 were ultimately included. Two-thirds of these (12/18) were published in 2020 and most were cross-sectional studies (15/18). No relevant bias at the study level was reported, although the risk of publication bias across studies cannot be ruled out at this early stage. Eleven records dealt with UC, five with CD and two with both. Most of the AI systems involved convolutional neural network, random forest and deep neural network architecture. Most studies focused on capsule endoscopy readings in CD (n = 5) and on the AI-assisted assessment of mucosal activity in UC (n = 10) for automated endoscopic scoring or real-time prediction of histological disease. Discussion: AI-assisted endoscopy in IBD is a rapidly evolving research field with promising technical results and additional benefits when tested in an experimental clinical scenario. External validation studies being conducted in large and prospective cohorts in real-life clinical scenarios will help confirm the added value of AI in assessing UC mucosal activity and in CD capsule reading. Plain language summary: Artificial intelligence for inflammatory bowel disease endoscopy Artificial intelligence (AI) is a promising technology in many areas of medicine. In recent years, AI-assisted endoscopy has been introduced into several research fields, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) endoscopy, with promising applications that have the potential to revolutionize clinical practice and gastrointestinal endoscopy. We have performed the first systematic review of AI and its application in the field of IBD and endoscopy. A formal process of paper selection and analysis resulted in the assessment of 18 records. Most of these (12/18) were published in 2020 and were cross-sectional studies (15/18). No relevant biases were reported. All studies showed positive results concerning the novel technology evaluated, so the risk of publication bias cannot be ruled out at this early stage. Eleven records dealt with UC, five with CD and two with both. Most studies focused on capsule endoscopy reading in CD patients (n = 5) and on AI-assisted assessment of mucosal activity in UC patients (n = 10) for automated endoscopic scoring and real-time prediction of histological disease. We found that AI-assisted endoscopy in IBD is a rapidly growing research field. All studies indicated promising technical results. When tested in an experimental clinical scenario, AI-assisted endoscopy showed it could potentially improve the management of patients with IBD. Confirmatory evidence from real-life clinical scenarios should be obtained to verify the added value of AI-assisted IBD endoscopy in assessing UC mucosal activity and in CD capsule reading.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • artificial intelligence
  • computer-aided diagnosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • endoscopy
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • machine learning
  • ulcerative colitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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